1st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I should like, without notice, to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence a question with regard to a telegram I have received from Adelaide in connexion with what seems to be a case of centralization, involving gross injustice to South Australia. Advertisements appeared in the evening newspapers in Adelaide on the 27th inst., inviting tenders for Waggons and harness for the Defence department in Adelaide. The tenders are to be sent in by Thursday, but the specifications must be examined in Sydney. The telegram to which I refer enters a strong remonstrance against the action of the Federal authorities in making arrangements so that tenders can be sent in from Sydney or Melbourne, but not from Adelaide. I desire to know whether the Minister willpostpone the date for the reception of tenders, so as to give people in South Australia an opportunity of tender ing.
SirWILLIAM LYNE.- I did not know anything about this matter until it was mentioned tome just now by the honorable member for South Australia, Sir Langdon Bony th on. I immediately communicated with the Secretary of Defence, Captain Collins, who will be here in a few minutes, and I shall then be able to tell the honorable member what has happened. It seems tome that if tenders are to be invited in all the States it will be an easy matter to send copies of the specifications, so that a fair chance may be given to tenderers in all the States.
– I should like, without notice, to ask the Minister for Home Affairs why it is that no progress is being made with the erection of the postoffices at Walkerville and Woodville, in South Australia?
– I am informed that the money required for the erection of these structures is provided for in the loan Estimates, which are not yet passed. If the honorable member wishes to obtainanything from the Treasurer, I prefer that he should apply to him rather than that I should do so.
asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable and learned member’s questions are as follow : -
but owing to the South Australian Railway department reducing their rates very considerably, with a view to securing the trade betweenDimboola and Serviceton, the Victorian Railway department imposed rates which, with additions, amount to -
as against the trade between the two stations referred to.
In order to counteract the baneful effect of these additional rates, goods were consigned from Adelaide to the first or second station inside Victoria, and then re-consigned at Victorian lower rates thence to Dimboola or the intermediate stations. The embargo now of the higher rates stands against the trade from Serviceton to Dimboola, and thelower preferential rates in favour of Melbourne are standing.
With regard to the third question, I have already communicated with the Ministers of Works in the various States, and have replies which I intended to have had here to-day. I will produce them to-morrow or next day. This matter is of such importance that I intend to ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister to communicate with the Premiers of the various States, in order to ascertain whether some alteration cannot be mode in the existing state of affairs.
– I think South Australia is willing to abolish the differential rates at once.
asked the Minister repre senting the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Government have notbeen consul ted.
Ordered (on motion by Mr. Higgins) -
That there be laid upon the table of the House a copy of the correspondence between the
Commonwealth Government and the State Governmentswith regard to the resolutions of both Federal Houses in favour of making factory legislation a subject for federal action.
Resolved (on motion by Mr. Skene) -
That leave of absence for the remainder of the session be granted to the honorable member for Kooyong, on the ground of urgent private business.
– I have the honour to move -
That a humble address of congratulation be presented to His Majesty the King, as follows -
To theking’s Most Excellent Majesty.
We, Your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, beg leave to approach Your Majesty, and offer our respectful congratulations on the occasion of the Coronation of Your Majesty and your gracious Consort.
We desire also to convey an assurance of our loyal attachment to your throne and person, and of our sincere hope that Your Majesty’s reign will be distinguished, under the blessing of Providence, by watchful care to maintain the laws of the Empire, and promote the happiness and liberty of your subjects.
I may remind honorable members that an address in these terms has already been passed by the Senate, and only awaits the assent of this House in order that the necessary authority to present it may be forwarded. The occasion which it marks is one by no means merely ceremonial, but will be of high significance as well as impressive brilliancy. No doubt from every quarter of the Empire, and from every corner of the globe, addresses similar in their purport will be presented to His Majesty. The oneness of the race will again be manifested, in association with a pageant constituting an imposing intimation to the world of that harmony which obtains within the borders of the Empire. All its various communities, many of them gifted like ourselves with a full grant of selfgovernment, are united by and under the Crown, which is the symbol of national unity as well as of its historic memories. The successive reigns of our recent sovereigns have been marked in every instance by plentiful evidences of progress, and there is no reason to fear that the reign now opening will begin under less auspicious circumstances, or will not be productive of as rich a harvest to a people, bound together, not only by the ties of blood, but by allegiance and constitutional alliance. Therefore, in moving this address without further prelude, I merely express the hope that His Majesty’s reign may mark a further advance, and, if possible, surpass those of His Majesty’s predecessors. Wecannot hope that it will exceed in duration the great reign of that Most Gracious Queen whom it is our pride to remember on every occasion, and to whom our indebtedness is incalculable. We may, however, express the expectation that it will be rich in the development of the arts of peace, and that the stability and greatness of the Empire will be further assured during its progress.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear !
– I do not think it is necessary in seconding this motion to make a lengthy speech. As a people we are all absolutely satisfied with the political conditions under which we live. We are proud of our own local independence, and also of that tie which binds us indissolubly to one of the greatest empires in the world. It is a matter of satisfaction, I am sure, to His Majesty, at the beginning of his reign, to find in one part of his Empire, instead of six isolated communities with weak voices, one united Commonwealth strengthened by federal bonds, and as determined to be united to the Empire as we are united to each other. We can all hope that, although His Majesty has had the Crown placed upon his head comparatively late in life, hemay be long spared, and that the rich judgment and experience gained by him whilst acting for Her late Majesty for many years at most important functions, will fit him thoroughly for the high position which he now holds. We wish him long life, and a reign which - although it cannot well be so long or so glorious as that of his great mother - may for true patriotism in the sovereign, and for true knowledge of his constitutional position, live worthily in the history of England.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Governor-General’s Establishment : Remission of Fodder Duties.
Resolutions of the Committee of Supply providing for the services of the year ended 30th June, 1901, as follow: - Parliament, £2,022 ; External Affairs, £8,292 ; AttorneyGeneral, £402 ; Defence, £141,575 ; and for the services of the year 1901-2, as follow : - Parliament, £30,882 ; External Affairs, £36,446 ; Attorney-General, 3,200: Home Affairs, £5,395; Defence, £937,211- adopted.
In Committee of Supply :
– I move -
That a sum not exceeding £226,288 be granted to His Majesty for or towards defraying the ser vices of the year ending 30th June, 1902.
The supply for which I am asking on the present occasion amounts to the considerable sum of £493,944. A large portion of this has already been passed in Committee of Supply, and, therefore, my formal motion is that which I have just submitted. It is a matter of regret that we have not been able to finish the whole of the Estimates ; but towards the end of the month if is absolutely necessary to have supply in order to meet the large payments which then become due. I have now to ask for a larger sum than is usual, because in the past I have been keeping down the amounts until the committee had an opportunity of dealing with the Estimates. We have now several large amounts to pay, including £20,000 in connexion with Now Guinea, £25,000 for rifles, the purchase of which has already been sanctioned ; and also large sums to the ammunition fund. In addition, there are capitation and other grants in connexion with the Defence department. If we are to make our payments and close our accounts on the 30th June, it is necessary to have sufficient money in hand to meet this largo expenditure. Many of the sums have to be remitted to Great Britain in order to pay for stores already ordered, and others are necessary to meet payments in the early part of next month to the various militia corps, and to other persons entitled, the amounts in some States being paid half-yearly, and in other States yearly. Independent of the items I have mentioned, there is other special expenditure, and in two or three instances the votes are exhausted. The £20,000 for New Guinea was advanced by the Queensland Government, and it is only right that it should be paid as quickly as possible, in order to save charges for interest. The money for the purchase of rifles has to be paid to the Treasurer in one of the States for the purpose of being remitted to Great
Britain. There is a small amount under the heading of arrears of £286, which is necessary in order to pay for the electric lighting up to the 30th June. These are the only amounts to which I need call the attention of honorable members.
– I feel this afternoon that I have rather a delicate duty to perform, and I desire to perform it in the calmest and most dispassionate manner. The Prime Minister will be the subject of a certain amount of criticism; and he is absent, not only from this Chamber, but from the country, in the performance of a duty in which he represents not merely this or that side of the House, but the whole of the citizens of the Commonwealth. In the next place, the subject matter to which I shall call attention, is the salary and establishment of His Excellency the Governor-General ; and nobody more sincerely regrets than I do the introduction into any discussion of Parliament the name of His Excellency.We all believe that except on occasions of absolute necessity the Governor-General should not be made the subject of criticism in this House, but as the representative of His Majesty should continue in a position of strict neutrality in all political battles. Only yesterday afternoon I asked the Attorney-General if he would give the House a fair statement of all the facts connected with the resignation of His Excellency. Since this House adjourned in order that a visit might be paid to the sites for the capital, and since the passing of a certain Act of Parliament, the Governor-General has considered it necessary to resign his position. Since that resignation we have had published in the press of Australia, important State documents which were never put into the hands of honorable members; and we. have had many official and semi-officialstatements from Ministers of the Crown, all creating more chaos in regard to this question. When we consider that as the telegraph wire flashed this news to every corner of the continent a shock, which vibrates still, was felt by the people-
– What a tale !
-I say there was a shock to the sensibilities of the people of Australia, and reasonably so. What was it that had to beannounced ? The resignation, within eighteen months of his appointment, of the first GovernorGeneral of Australia - a man who for several years occupied a high position in the State in which this Parliament holds its sittings. The Governor-General is a man who has endeared himself to members of this community, and he was chosen by a happy concatenation of events as the first Governor-General of Australia. TheImperial Government showed their tact and judgment in not merely giving us a prominent man from Great Britain, but in giving us the man whom we would have chosen ourselves. Surely the news that passed through the length and breadth of the land was sufficient to call for full explanation on the part of the Government; and, notwithstanding certain interjections, I hold that the people of this country are still expecting some explanation. If responsible Ministers do not see fit to admit the public to their confidence, we, the representatives in Parliament, have a right to do our utmost in order to drag into the light of day all the secrets connected with this fiasco. Let us look at the question as it concerns ourselves. Before the House adjourned a few weeks ago, a certain Bill was introduced dealing with the GovernorGeneral’s salary and establishment. Unfortunately, I could not bepresent on that occasion. As honorable members understand, this session has been so prolonged, that any honorable member who has any private interests whatever, must be absent occasionally. I am informed that this Bill was introduced on one afternoon and practically passed through all its stages on the following afternoon. If the Governor-General’s name is not to be easily dealt with in this Chamber, then on strict constitutional grounds, I venture to say that a Bill dealing with His Excellency ought to have been in the hands of honorable members for weeks and weeks if necessary, so that they might have been fully cognisant of what the Government intended to do.
– That ought to have been done fifteen months ago.
– I am coming to that point presently. Honorable members were perfectly satisfied that a certain sum would have to be granted to His Majesty’s representative in order to defray the expenses of the Commonwealth celebrations and the entertainment of Royalty. Not one of us expected that His Excellency would have to pay these charges out of his private purse ; and, so far as most honorable members were concerned, it was understood that the Government would bring down a Bill dealing with them alone. Of course, the Governor-General’s salary had to be embodied in an Act of Parliament ; and it was also understood that the whole of the allowances connected with the gubernatorial establishment would be separately dealt with. If that course had been pursued a great deal of the difficulty which we are now experiencing would have been obviated Let us see what did happen the other night. I do not want in any way to cast reflections. I believe that this House did its duty so far as was possible with the knowledge then in the possession of honorable members. But this House did not see all round the question when it was being debated on that particular occasion. Certain figures were given to us by the Prime Minister, and subsequently some figures were supplied to us by the Treasurer. The Governor-General’s Establishment Bill was passed immediately after the speech by the Prime Minister, and honorable members did not have an opportunity to thoroughly understand the situation. The whole matter was so mixedup that it was almost impossible for any one to grasp it in its entirety. There was a degree of haste exhibited in regard to the passage of the Bill through the House that showed, I think, that there was something behind it which the public ought to know. During this long and weary session, have we ever had such a Bill passed through all its stages in one night? The Governor-General’s Establishment Bill, above all others, ought to have followed the usual course. First of all, it should have been laid on the table of the House for a reasonable period ; next, it should have been fully explained by the Prime Minister; and then a reasonable time should have been allowed to intervene so that honorable members might thoroughly grasp the situation. Let us take one or two matters connected with it, which show clearly how very necessary it was that the ordinary course should be pursued in regard to the measure. According to the admission of the Treasurer, there was embedded in the grant of£8,000 to His Excellency, for which the Bill provided, a sum of £1,400 at least which appeared in the Estimates. Then reference was made to an item of £2,000 as being connected with the Governor-General’s establishment, although it related purely to executive purposes. We have ‘ to go through the Estimates, and also through other documents which were distributed- a long time ago, and which probably have been lost by many honorable members, in order to ascertain where other items relating to the Governor-General’s establishment are to be found. Altogether, when the Bill was before the House the whole matter was so complicated that I am perfectly satisfied that no man of ordinary intelligence could have grasped the situation immediately after the second reading speech by the Prime Minister. Yet the measure, which had been incubating for nearly eighteen months, was forced through the House in one night.
– A brutal majority earned it.
– I am not reflecting upon what was dene by the House. My object goes further than that. I think that the House must have acted according to its own feeling of what was right, and with every respect for the Governor-General. I am sure, too, that the House, although it pissed the measure in question, was at the same time desirous that the position of the Governor-General should be ful 1 y recognised, and that we should be able at all times to obtain for the position a gentleman who will be provided with an allowance sufficient to render it unnecessary for him to . resort to his own private purse. That is the feeling in this House and throughout Australia. Let us see what we were endeavouring to understand when the Bill was before us. What we desired to get at, and what the Government failed clearly to define, was the bed-rock salary of the Governor-General, that is to say, the bed-rock allowance which he, as a private individual, apart -from his duties as Governor-General, would have for the expenditure of his own household. I have taken out two statements. I shall refer first to that made by the Prime Minister in moving the second reading of the Bill, and which, of course, would not be easily grasped by honorable members who had no schedule before them and nothing to guide them save their memory, in arriving at an understanding of the position. We will take first the salary of £10,000, which has been voted to the Governor-General by the House. Out of that, provision has to be made for the private secretary’s salary, £600 per annum ; the military secretary’s salary, £500 per annum; and the aide-de-camp’s salary, £300 per annum; gas and electric lighting, £1,600 per annum ; fuel, £400 per annum ; flags, £100 per annum; and printing connected with Government House entertainment, &c, £750 per annum. That makes a total of £4,250, leaving for the absolute bed-rock expenses of His Excellency the sum of £5,750. In order that there may be no mistake about the figures, I have also taken those supplied by the Treasurer to the press.
– I did not supply them.
– They appear over my right honorable friend’s name, and come to very much the same result as those .supplied by the Prime Minister, so that I do not imagine that he will discredit them. We have again, in the Treasurer’s statement, the salary of £10,000 voted by the House. The original estimate of the special allowances was £7,530. I think that item will be found in the Estimates, if the different details are taken out ; but under the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill we take away everything except the allowances in respect of what is called the absolute up-keep of the two Government Houses. That represents an expenditure of £5,750, leaving a balance of these allowances in our Estimates - which the GovernorGeneral has now to pay - of £1,780.
– That was not caused by the passing of the Genernor - General’s Establishment Bill.
– I shall come to that matter later on. I shall show that this is the position which was put before the Governor-General in his interview with the Ministers of the Crown, after the vote was taken on the GovernorGeneral’s Establishment Bill. When we add the items of the salaries of theprivate and military secretaries and aide-de-camp, which represent £1,400, fuel £400, flags £100, and printing, ttc, £750, we have a total deduction of £4,430, as against the Prime Minister’s estimate of £4,250. Taking the mean between the two, when we deduct all these items, we have a balance of only something between £5,500 and £6,000 for the Governor-General’s establishment. Of course, the House has yet to deal with the Estimates ; but let us see what the next step was. Holding the opinion, as I do, that the House never intended that the amount which I have named should be the’ bed-rock salary of the Governor, with these deductions made, I want to show the House what was done. I understand that the Prime Minister and another member of the Government called upon His Excellency the Governor-General and told him that even the very allowances which had been provided for in the expected vote of this House - and to some of which I have referred - would have to be deducted from his salary. We shall see whether the Governor-General understood that that was the case. In his telegram to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, His Excellency said -
No allowances whatever will be given.
In other words, the Governor-General must have been told that apart from the £ 5,000 odd for the up-keep of the two houses which we requested him to live in, and with which practically he has nothing to do, not one shilling would be placed upon the Estimates in respect of his expenses.
– Who has asked His Excellency to keep up two establishments ?
– The people of New South Wales.
– The GovernorGeneral stated in his cablegram to the Secretary of State for the Colonies -
No allowances whatever will be given. On a salary of £10,000 per annum I am expected to paystaff, visit various States, paying all travelling expenses excepting railway, occupy two great Government Houses, pay lights, fuel, stationery, telegrams, postage other than official, dispense hospitality, maintain dignity of the office. I have already strained my private resources beyond all justification. The position is impossible. After grave consideration I think that you had better recall me after the Coronation.
I think that when the House passed the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill, as I believe, largely under a misconception-
– No fear.
– I believe there was a misconception, notwithstanding what may be said by honorable members.
– The light of subsequent events will not impel honorable members to change their minds.
– I should like to know whether any attempt was made to ask the Governor-General to hold back his resignation. Probably, before cabling to London, His Excellency showed the text of this message to his responsible Ministers. At any rate, it is reasonable to believe that His Excellency did so.
– He did not.
– That makes the position worse. That would have been the only course if there had not been some absolute breach of faith at the back of this business. We come now to the most important part of the discussion. Honorable members will have had placed in their hands a document signed by Mr. Chamberlain in November, 1900, and which arrived in Australia a few days after the ceremony of the inauguration of the Commonwealth. If honorable members read that document, and if they understand, as everybody must understand, the multifarious duties of the Secretary of State for the Colonies - a man who probably isthe most important figure in English history at the present time - they will not think for one momentthat he initiated the proceedings without having been moved to that course by something. I do not know whether it is true or not, but I am told that there was a conference with the Secretary of State for the Colonies when Mr. Barton was in England, and that practically the question of allowances was decided then.
– That is not so.
– We must always distinguish between the matter of a Minister’s responsibility and the subsequent attitude of the House itself. I take it that a Minister does not give an assurance to the Governor-General, above all people, that a certain thing will be done, unless he is either satisfied regarding the feeling of the House, or is ready to stand or fall by the result. If there is any person in our system of government who should have no assurance from Ministers except such as they are willing to stand or fall by, and in regard to which they have a perfect knowledge of the opinion of Parliament, he is the GovernorGeneral. Will any one tell me, from what he knows of the Governor-General, that he would have allowed the Establishment Bill to be placed before Parliament if he had thought that there was the slightest chance of it not being carried ? Does not everything point to the fact that the matter was incubating for practically eighteen months ; that during the whole of that period the Governor-General was resting on the good faith of his Ministers’ promise that he would be put into a proper- position? Why was not the Bill brought before the House before? We balanced our accounts on the 30th June last, after the Commonwealth had been in existence for six months, and why was not this matter dealt with then ? Why was it deferred until the very eve of the Prime Minister’s departure ? The manner in which it was treated was an absolute insult to His Excellency, and a course of procedure which he had no right to expect from his responsible advisers, who knew his constitutional position of absolute neutrality, and that he was unable to defend himself against criticism.
– No one criticised him.
– No ; but the Establishment Bill was not introduced without his consent. Will any one tell me that he had not the assurance of his Ministers in regard to it that it was a fair and reasonable proposal to put before Parliament?
– This House was almost unanimous in its rejection of the Bill.
– That does not touch the matter. Lord Hopetoun will not be the last Governor-General of Australia, and our object this afternoon should be to see that no such fiasco as has occurred during the past two weeks shall ever occur again in the history of the Commonwealth. The least Ministers could have done after the Bill was so radically altered was to make a clean breast of the whole proceedings to this House. Did any one ever before hear of a confidential document, which had been sent to the GovernorGeneral and had been handed by him to his Ministers, being flung before the people by the press of the country without a word of explanation from responsible Ministers ?
– It was laid before the Senate.
– But this Chamber upon re-assembling after the adjournment had a right to a full explanation from responsible Ministers.
– The document in question was laidbefore the Senate only after the resignation of the Governor-General.
– It should have been placed before honorable members here prior to the introduction of the Bill.
– The Government themselves evidently feel that they have bungled the matter, because they tell us that they are now formulating certain proposals to lay before the House for the proper up-keep of His Excellency’s establishment. We must clearly determine in this House, or the Government must determine by some State document, what is to be expected from whoever fills that high position in the future. If, after he has met certain absolutely unavoidable expenses, his net salary is to be only £5,000 or £6,000 a year, to ask him to keep up two residences will be absolutely absurd. Is the Governor-General answerable for the present position of affairs? Surely we shouldhave some regard for the position of the representative of the King, to whom we have to-day voted a loyal address, and Ministers should have been able in some way or other to prevent his resignation. Will any one tell me that the GovernorGeneral resigned on account of a few thousand pounds ? He is reputed to bea wealthy man, and it is proved by the utterances of the Attorney-General that he resigned because he was disgusted with his. advisers. The whole matter has been treatedina most unbusiness-like and bungling fashion, and the public of Australia are to-day rising in indignation, not against their representatives, but at the way in which the Government placed the matter before them. Seeing that the Governor-General is the one visible link between us and the Empire of which we form a part, he should be given facilities for visiting the various States during his term of office, so that he may be known, revered, and respected throughout Australia, and may come into contact with the people as much as possible. Brilliant young men belonging to the upper classes in England, and, as a rule, taken from the House of Lords, are appointed to these posts, first, because their position as the apex of our political and social system will be beyond cavil, and secondly, so that they may return to England, and to their places in Parliament there, with a full knowledge of our conditions and requirements. Year after year are added to those in political life in England men who have become acquainted with our conditions, and who show themselves the friends Of Australia whenever political discussions regarding us arise there. That is a second reason why we should give them every facility to make themselves acquainted with the conditions of Australia, and so help to remove the false impression which so often prevails in regard to this country on the other side of the world. The Prime Minister on several occasions denied that any special allowances were given to the GovernorGeneral, although, as a matter of fact, such allowances were being paid. But the Government evidently did not like to bring this matter before the House, and it is clear that the Governor-General has been sacrificed to the weakness and inefficiency of his responsible advisers. The crushing fact that he did not consult them when about to send a cablegram to England is a sufficient proof that he was absolutely disgusted with his advisers, and reasonably so too, because the whole business has been mismanagedby them in such a way as to cause every citizen to blush for them. There has been a feeling in this House that if Mr. Chamberlain or any other British Minister communicates with Ministers here through His Excellency the Governor-General, it is an unnecessary interference on his part. But with scarcely an exception, no real interference with our concerns has occurred. I hold that Mr. Chamberlain has a perfect right to communicate his views to the Governor-General, and the Governor-General to transmit those views as suggestions or opinions to his responsible advisers.
– He has no right to argue upon points of local policy.
– That may be; but in this case Mr. Chamberlain’s letter to His Excellency, which has been placed before the Senate and before the public, should have formed part of the Prime Minister’s explanation of the Establishment Bill. He should have told us that the Governor-General upon taking office had been led to believe that certain allowances for the upkeep of his establishment would be made to him.
– The Prime Minister did say so.
– He did not give us Mr. Chamberlain’s letter.
– He expressly refused to do so.
– When the House is dealing with a matter of this kind it should know all the circumstances of the case. The only inference we can draw now is that His Excellency had some kind of assurance from his Ministers before he came here that these allowances would be agreed to.
– That was clearly stated in the press, and not contradicted.
– It was not true. Whoever takes notice of such statements in the press ?
– In speaking upon the second reading of the Establishment Bill. The honorable member for Bland said -
I do not know whether the inference to be drawn from the Prime Minister’s statement is that he has had suggestions from the Colonialoffice with regard to the Governor-General’s salary.
I would like honorable members to listen to this to see whether we were taken into the confidence of the Prime Minister. The honorable member for Bland continued -
If it is not, I do not understand why he should be in receipt of despatches on the subject. It is a peculiar thing if the Colonial-office has been applied to in this matter.
Mr. Barton then interjected, “It has not.” If the Colonial-office had not been applied to, why did not the Prime Minister candidly confess that there had been suggestions made by the Colonial-office, and that these suggestions were made before the Governor-General came out here, and were embodied in a letter which arrived here four days after the establishment of the Commonwealth. I believe that this matter has been bungled, and that the whole of the people of Australia will say so. We have been placed in an awkward position before the whole world. It has been made to appear that theGovernorGeneral has resigned because this Parliament refused practically to keep the promise made to him by his responsible advisers. With all respect to the Prime Minister and, with a feeling of awkwardness in expressing myself in his absence, I say that he did not treat this matter as he ought to have done. If he gave His Excellency what was practically a pledge that a certain thing would be done within a certain time, and if - after having kept him upon tenter-hooks for eighteen months - hetold him that he was practically certain that Parliament would agree to the suggstion, he should have stood or fallen upon his action in the matter. Instead of that, on the eve of his departore, he flung a proposal before the House, told us that the matter was not one that would affect the Government, and left us to do exactly as we liked. I contend that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral has been badly treated. The moment there was any misapprehension about this matter, and the moment the Prime Minister saw, as he might have seen, that it would be difficult to give effect bo his pledges, he ought to have settled the question at once. If the proposal had been placed before us for a reasonable period, and if the leaders of the House had been consulted - as in a matter of this kind they should have been consulted, because there is no party element in it - whatever might have happened, whether we had lost the Governor - General or not, the business would have been carried through in a decent and circumspect manner, His Excellency would have been the last person in the world to object to what Parliament desired, and he could have retired for any reason but the one that has been given. The Government ought to bring down proposals setting forth the conditions under which future Governors-General shall come here. It ought to be settled once and for all, whether two large Government establishments are to be maintained, whether the Governor-General is to visit the different States, how his travelling expenses are to be paid, and what is really the salary to be given to him as a gentleman and as a Governor-General. .Finally, I declare that this matter has never been thoroughly seized by this House, and that the public do not know even now how it stands. It has been so mixed up in connexion with both the Estimates and the Bill recently passed, and has been so badly handled, owing to the procrastination of the Government, that the people of Australia have been led into a position in which they ought not to have been placed by the Government whom they have trusted.
– On one point the honorable member for W entworth and the members of the Government will be in entire accord, and that is in desiring to make this question, as he has made it, a purely political issue between parties. We desire to avoid any possible reference, except such as is absolutely necessary, to His Excellency personally, and also to scrupulously avoid, even by implication, anything that might be construed into a reflection upon the right honorable gentleman. As a matter of fact, it appears. to me that some of the implications that might be drawn from my honorable friend’s remarks would, if strictly taken, reflect upon His Excellency.; but I feel sure they were not so intended. They were aimed, as they ought to be aimed, at the Government, who have to shoulder their responsibility in this matter, and who do so without any hesitation. May I be allowed, in passing, simply to say that the members of the Government have not used mere formal words when they have stated that the severance of His Excellency from the Commonwealth, apart from its public consequences altogether, is a matter of deep and sincere personal regret to every one of those who have been privileged to act as his advisers. This would be trueof those who were his advisers in Victoria, as well as those who are now accociated with him under the Commonwealth. I shall not have occasion in this debate to quote His Excellency except upon one matter, and then only at his own personal and direct request. If it should bo stated in this House or elsewhere that his resignation - for that is practically what it is - was occasioned by anything arising out of his relations with -his present advisers, it was His Excellency’s desire that such a statement should be given the most absolute and unqualified contradiction.
– It is questionable whether that should be mentioned in this debate.
– Surely the honorable and learned member is not so thoroughly a party man as to refuse u§ justice. He has heard assertions made and reiterated which it is His Excellency’s special wish should be contradicted, and it is surely fitting that’ in this matter His Excellency’s desire should be followed. Beyond this, His Excellency wishes it to be clearly understood that his action was in no way due to any feeling of resentment on his part regarding any action taken by Parliament or any word spoken in Parliament. His choice was made in view of all the circumstances of the situation, and without regard to the views of Parliament, or his Ministers. I think that this is a proper statement to make at His Excellency’s request, because it helps to remove still further from the arena of this discussion the personal element which it is not desirable to obtrude. No man who has held office in Australia has enjoyed such universal and well-deserved popularity as His Excellency the Governor-General.
– What has that to do with the matter ?
– However the honorable and learned member may desire to interrupt a necessary statement of this kind, I repeat it with emphasis, because it is proper that the public outside should realize the esteem in which. His Excellency is personally held, in order that they may better understand how entirely free from any personal consideration has been the action of this House and of the Government. Now, there is one other matter connected with the relations of the Government to the Governor-General. The honorable member for Wentworth inquired, and he had a perfect right to do so, whether His Excellency the GovernorGenertd was requested by the Government to reconsider his decision. He was so asked, and naturally so, at the very earliest opportunity. He was asked more than once if on any terms whatever it would be possible, for him to reconsider his determination. His answer from the first was that from his standpoint his choice was irrevocable, and he has consistently declined to discuss any alteration that Parliament might make with a view to retain his services. Now we come a little nearer to the matter at issue, and I am glad that the honorable member for Wentworth has ventured - although iti a indirect way - to bring forward an assertion in the public press, where it must have been made without any real belief that it was true and without any knowledge that any part of it was true. The statement to which I refer was that a private arrangement was made by the Prime Minister - when he was in London in association with myself and several of my colleagues as representatives of the States of the Commonwealth - with Mr. Chamberlain in regard to the allowances to bo made to the future Governor-General. There is not a shadow of foundation for that statement. So far from its being true, those who made the statement appear to have forgotten that, so far from Mr. Chamberlain relying on any such arrangement, Mr. Barton was not selected at first as first Prime Minister, and need not have been a member of the first administration. This cardinal fact has been omitted by those who desire to establish an imaginary chain of connexion between Mr. Barton as representative of one of the
States in London, and Mr. Barton as the Prime Minister of this Commonwealth.
– That statement has sunk deep into the public mind.
– It was intended to do so, as are many other statements which are made by those who do not know them to be true, but which are thrown out to arouse in the public mind feelings which no subsequent statement of the facts can thoroughly eradicate-.
– Does the Attorney-General think that he is right in making the statements that Mr. Chamberlain did not desire Mr. Barton to be the first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth 1
– I do not say so. What I say is that those who allege that an arrangement was entered into between Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Barton, in London, with reference to the GovernorGeneral’s allowance, must contend that Mr. Barton was intended to be the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth in order to have enabled him to carry out any such arrangement.
– I do not think it was stated that an arrangement was made, but that Mr. Barton expressed his opinion.
– The charge made against the Prime Minister was that he hud entered into some arrangement with Mr. Chamberlain as to the allowances to be made tothe Governor-General, which arrangement could only have been made by Mr. Barton as a member of the first Commonwealth Ministry. This statement is entirely disproved by the facts.
– Mr. Barton expected to be. the Prime Minister.
– Mr. Barton’s expectations would not be sufficient to justify Mr. Chamberlain in making an arrangement with him. I was acquainted at that time with every communication that passed between Mr. Barton and Mr. Chamberlain on any matter of public importance, and such an arrangement as that suggested could not have been entered into without my knowledge then, or without the knowledge of my colleagues afterwards. Mr. Barton would have sought to impress upon us the importance of this matter by telling us that it had been discussed in London, and that an arrangement had been arrived at. My colleagues can bear me out when I say that there never lias been a hint of any such understanding or arrangement.
– That is enough ; that ends it.
– Yes, that ends it.
– Did the AttorneyGeneral say that Mr. Chamberlain was against the appointment of Mr. Barton 1
– Certainly not ; nothing of the kind.
– That was what was understood in this part of the House.
– I said that those who made the statement must, in order to have any basis whatever, show an understanding between Mr. Barton and Mr. Chamberlain that Mr. Barton should be a Minister. What would be the use of making an arrangement with a member who would be in opposition ?
– The Attorney-General said that so far as Mr. Chamberlain was concerned, Mr. Barton would not have been the first Prime Minister.
-That was intended as an answer to an interjection ; it was not my statement. What Mr. Chamberlain’s views were as to the Prime Ministership is entirely unknown to me; I do not even possess a suspicion in the matter. The committee will realize that the unhappy ending which has resulted on this occasion casts its shadow backward on all the events that preceded it. Necessarily, therefore, a Minister or member who rises to speak is confronted at the very outset with this most unfortunate occurrence, which any of us would have done all in our power, to avoid. But it would be unfair to be misled, because of this unfortunate and quite unanticipated ending, into believing that from the first any such contingency was deemed to be within the range of possibility. Will honorable members recall the concrete circumstances with which the Ministry, on its formation, had to deal ? Both despatches from Mr. Chamberlain pointed the finger, not only forward, but backward. The first of these despatches was written before the Commonwealth wasformed and, of course, before the Governor-General had arrived here.
– But it was written after the Governor-General had leftEngland ; and it is important that the committee should know that.
– Yes ; the GovernorGeneral left England before the 30th November.
– Was it then an inspiration on Mr. Chamberlain’s part?
– No ; but that is where we have to begin. There are circumstances antecedent to this, which are pointed to in this despatch and elsewhere. This
Government only began on the 1st January, or a day or two before when members were chosen. The first despatch was written while Lord Hopetoun was on his way to Australia, but before he had reached or touched any part of the continent ; it was before His Excellency had made any choice of Ministers, and when, in fact, no one knew what his choice would be.
– Has the Attorney-General the despatches which passed between the present Minister for Home Affairs and the Imperial authorities?
– I have to-day, at the suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, written to the Premier of New South Wales, asking as a favour to have these despatches supplied, with a view of laying them before this Parliament. When honorable members are considering the situation which faced the Commonwealth Ministry, they should note that this first despatch, at its conclusion, refers to a period preceding the establishment of the federal capital. It points out that it was then intended that the Governor-General should occupy the Government Houses at both Sydney and Melbourne, and that it might be found desirable that he should continue the same arrangement after the new capital is established.
– Why was that decision arrived at?
– As a matter of factthat was before the birth of the Commonwealth, and no witness can testify to what happens before his birth. We, as a Commonwealth, do not know why the decision was arrived at. In paragraph 7 of the despatch occurs the information -
I have already suggested to the Government of New South Wales that, until some provision has been made for entertainment allowance, the Governor-General should not be expected to entertain largely at Sydney, and I have received an assurance that a Bill will be introduced in the New South Wales Parliament to provide an allowance.
– Which was clone.
– Which was done before the Commonwealth came into being. What we were confronted with on taking office was not this despatch merely - a simple thing in itself, addressed to the GovernorGeneral, but laid before Ministers, and read by them - but also the concrete situation to which the despatch referred. That situation was created by the passing, in New South
Wales, of an Act of Parliament which is still in force.
– But that Act is nullified by the want of agreement on the part of the other States.
– No Act of one State can be nullified by the action or want of action on the part of other States.
– The New South Wales Act is practically nullified.
– It is as legal to-day as ever. That was the situation which the Commonwealth Government had to face. There was an Act of Parliament, under which the State of New South Wales had assumed the obligation to pay to His Excellency £3,300 a year as an entertainment allowance, and in order to defray the extra expense incurred by maintaining a separate establishment in that State. The first question with which Ministers had to deal was of a practical character - should His Excellency be advised to accept the allowance or not? Ministers considered the matter, and advised that His Excellency should not accept.
– How long ago is it since the Ministry came to that definite decision ?
– I should say it was about the end of January.
-Four months ago?
– No ; sixteen months ago, in 1901.
– That is all the worse.
– I do not want to make the position better or worse; at present I am concerned with facts, and will argue afterwards. The Prime Minister recounted all the circumstances, as reported on page 12215 of Hansard, and explained that the Government advised His Excellency not to accept this perfectly legal State allowance, on the ground that any such allowance should be made by the Commonwealth itself. Taking into consideration the facts so far as we could learn them, we arrived at the opinion that an allowance, amounting to £8,000 a year, which would provide for a second residence, and also for a certain number of charges of a quasi-private character, ought to be made by the Commonwealth. The sum would suffice for expenses of a quasi-private character, and also allow something over and above for the expense of carrying on entertainments which would be expected whenever His Excellency visited his second place of residence. That determination had to be arrived at then, in order that His Excellency might be advised in regard to the acceptance of the sum which the Legislature of New South Wales had voted.
– That fact has been concealed from the House from that day up to now.
– No ; it was announced many months ago.
– Once or twice in the House reference was made to proposed allowances, and a measure was promised. The details of that measure were not laid before the House until a very recent period. There is no dispute as to that fact ; and what blame attaches to the delay the Government must accept. But in accepting it they, in common fair play, ask honorable members to also consider the facts of the situation since the determination was arrived at.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral say that the despatches and subsequent agreement have been made known to the House ?
– No. The Prime Minister in the course of the debate on the Bill, expressly declined to lay the daspatches on the table at that stage, and gave his reasons, as reported on page 12223 of Hansard, from which the following is an extract : -
– Have there been any despatches between the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Government on this subject?
– I decline to allow the House to be influenced on a question such as this by any despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
– The preceding paragraphs would infer that the Prime Minister tried to deceive the House.
– If that is the honorable member’s interpretation it is not just.
– Read the report to the House.
-I have read it, and honorable members can do so for themselves. If the Government had laid the despatches on the table, before the discussion on the Bill, it would at once have been said that an attempt was being made to influence honorable members by weight of authority. What the Prime Minister did was to take all the facts out of these despatches, which had been given to the Ministry, and quote them to the House ; that is, the facts in regard to the Canadian allowances, and so forth. These are the only material facts in the despatch beyond expressions of opinion. The Prime Minister expressed his own opinions. So far as the despatches of the Colonial Secretary supply facts, these were laid before the House, and the Prime Minister allowed honorable members to judge the facts on their merits, without regard to whom they were quoted from. Surely honorable members will realize that in the discussion of a question of this kind, which is purely local, it is better by far that the names of all persons should be omitted rather than that there should be debate on a side issue as to whether these despatches should or should not have been sent? Honorable members have to notice two facts. The first is that the despatches were not directed to the Government, but to the Governor-General, and called for no reply from the Government. The first despatch. His Excellency was asked to lay before his Ministers, for the proper reason that they referred to a matter which. Lord Hopetoun could scarcely be expected to broach himself. I do not think that the Colonial Secretary departed from the duties of his office, or infringed on our privileges, when at the outset of the Commonwealth he took this means of calling the attention of Ministers to the facts in relation to allowances in Canada and elsewhere. Mr. Chamberlain asked for no reply, expected no reply, and got no reply. When the second despatch was sent, it also was directed to the GovernorGeneral, with whom it was optional whether he laid it before Ministers. His Excellency did lay the despatch before the Government, but by that time Ministers, having to face the concrete situation created by the New South Wales Act, had come to a decision, and so informed His Excellency. The Government have had no communication, direct or indirect, with the Secretary of State on this matter, before or since. These two despatches represent the whole of the communications that have passed between Mr. Chamberlain and the Governor - General known to the Government or any member of the Government.
– Did the GovernorGeneral anticipate that the Allowance Bill would not be passed ?
– All I can say is that it became plain from the temper of the House that a Bill of this sort had but a very small chance of acceptance. That was not expressed in any utterance or action in the House with reference to His Excellency ; but any one following the proceedings of this Chamber on other matters in relation to expenditure could well foresee that such a measure must be subject to adverse criticism.
– Was the GovernorGeneral advised that the Bill was not likely to pass ?
– I think that is a question which the honorable member should not ask. I feel justified in saying, however, this much, and no more - that there was no dissimulation on the part of the Government in connexion with this matter. What the Government undertook to do in the first place, and what they undertook to do in the last place, was to submit the Bill to Parliament, and they did so.
– Why was it delayed sixteen months ?
– It was not a matter on which the Government could consult the Opposition as to the possibility of a compromise. The Government had told His Excellency in the first instance that they would make an examination of the circumstances, and they made it. I may say that the Government considered then, and consider now, that if the Governor-Generalship of Australia is to be carried out in the manner in which His Excellency commenced and desired, no less allowance than £8,000 a year will suffice. They are of that opinion still. If the House is to regard the position of Governor-General as one of the high Imperial offices ranking with that of the Governor-General of India, the GovernorGeneral of Canada, or, as Mr. Chamberlain pointed out, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland - if the status of those offices is to be maintained here - if the same hospitality is to be dispensed, if the same ceremony is to surround the person of His Excellency as that which he has hitherto presented on all public occasions, and if lavish hospitality is to be displayed by him wherever he finds himself, in accordance with his past practice - it is plain that the sum of £8,000 a year would still leave a great void in his accounts, which would require to be filled from his private income. When His Excellency was Governor of Victoria he entertained the same liberal notions of his duties as Her Majesty’s representative, and to the knowledge of his Ministers spent very much more than the income he received, notwithstanding the handsome allowances then extended to him.
– The LordLieutenant of Ireland and the Governor-General of India are both viceroys.
– They are ; but in what respect does the head of a great selfgoverning community such as ‘ this differ from them ?
– The courts which they have to keep up, and the entertainments which they have to provide, are very much larger than what are required of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth.
– That has not been the opinion of His Excellency, who has obviously commenced and continued his Vice-Regal functions under a conception of his office, upon the same scale as the distinguished offices named.
– What was the allowance to the Governor of Victoria 1 ‘
– His Excellency was granted allowances more liberal than those received by him as Governor-General.
– Were they not practically the same as those provided on our Estimates ?
– If anything they were larger. In order that there might be no misunderstanding as to these in this House the Treasurer, in connexion with his Budget statement -extracted the different items which- related to the Governor-General’s expenditure, and caused them to be placed on a separate sheet in the file of papers laid on the table of the House. Those items were referred to, both by the Treasurer and other honorable members, during the course of the debates. They appear at page 12a of the Budget papers, and show that in addition to the salary of the GovernorGeneral a sum of £9,530 was provided in different parts of the Estimates for what are sometimes termed “allowances,” but are more properly designated “official expenses.” The details were given in a paper that was also supplied. According to my recollection, the salary and allowances provided for the Governor of Victoria were nearer £25,000 than £19,000 a year. I merely mention this, in passing, in order to show that if the office of GovernorGeneral were maintained in accordance with what His Excellency believed it to be his duty’ to maintain it, £8,000 a year for allowances, would not be anything like sufficient to meet the expenditure involved. The Prime Minister informed the House of that fact several times during the course of the discussion on the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill. Before leaving this part of the question, may I point out that so far from His Excellency having been anxious to acquire all that was offered by honorable members in the shape of allowances, when he learned of the vote of £10,000 made in the Bill now before the Senate, and that honorable members considered that accounts for printing and other outlay in connexion with entertainments which he gave, even though given by him as Governor-General, should . not be paid for by allowances out of the public purse, he of his own motion wished to apply that doctrine to his expenses in entertaining the Royal visitors and thousands of other guests, in connexion with the celebrations at the opening of this Parliament. He made a calculation, and offered to return to the Government a sum of £2,000 out of the total of £10,000 proposed to be granted to him, if the House, in passing the Bill, had been under any misapprehension in thinking that such items were excluded from the total expenditure in respect of which the allowance was made. That is only one of the many instances which he has frequently given of his desire to fulfil what he believes to be the wishes and intentions of Parliament. I have been asked about the delay in bringing the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill before the House. That was a measure which, I frankly admit, the Government intended to submit from the first moment of its existence. There was no concealment of the fact. The Government met the House, and continued, until very late last year, under the entirely mistaken imprest sion that we should be able to conclude the whole of the business of the session before Christmas. In that event the Bill would naturally have been introduced as one of a series of measures of moment, but not of the same importance as the great Bills that occupied the session, and would have been dealt with in October or November.
– So it would ha.ve been if the Government had acted in accordance with their manifesto.
– Surely that fiction has been exploded. No matter what the Tariff framed by the Government, we could not have hoped to pass it in very much less time than it occupied. In every step by which we saved time, we should have prolonged the criticism of Opposition and other honorable members on this side. What we have to recall is that we expected at first that the session would be of normal duration. The next expectation cherished was that business .would be concluded by Christmas, or that, at all events, the Tariff would be disposed of, and that the Government would have an opportunity to introduce some other measures before the House rose for the Christmas, holidays. Consequently this measure, in common with others, was held over from week to week, and month to month, until a suitable opportunity should present itself for its introduction. Honorable members do not require to be told what would have been said if we had put aside the Immigration Restriction Bill, the Pacific Islands Labourers Bill, the Post and Telegraph Bill, the Public Service Bill, or the Tariff, in order to ask the House to consider it. It would have been said, as it is said now, that we had brought the measure forward in the way most calculated to court failure. It would have been asserted that if we had only waited until members had an opportunity of learning what the revenue of the Commonwealth was likely to be ; if we had only given them an opportunity of settling the Tariff before bringing down the Bill, we should have succeeded in carrying it; and that in seeking to have it passed before the Tariff had been dealt with, we were committing something worse than a blunder, and almost a crime. .
– Some days were wasted over the Defence Bill, although there was really no intention of dealing with it.
– The Government did intend to deal with it. No one was more disappointed than was the Minister for Defence, who insisted, long after other Ministers had given up all hope, that the Bill would be passed this session, when the House realized its merits.
– What about the Judiciary Bill?
– That has yet to be dealt with. How can honorable members say that we have treated the GovernorGeneral’s Establishment Bill with indifference when a measure of the first importance, like the Judiciary Bill, is still awaiting the second-reading debate?
– Were the Government so pressed for time that they could not give earlier notice of their intention to introduce the Bill.
– If the honorable member knows anything he knows this : that to give notice of a measure like the GovernorGeneral’s Establishment Bill, and not to proceed with it speedily, is at once to invite attack. If that course had been followed it would have been said at once by honorable members opposite that they had been misled by the action of the Government. It is the old story. Strike high or strike low we should never please our honorable friends opposite. If we had adopted- the course now suggested we should have been told that any other would have been a proper way to deal with the measure. Let us remember the real facts. If honorable members recall the circumstance that the Governor-General’s Establishment Bi.il was introduced somewhat suddenly because of the approaching departure of the Prime Minister-
– It was not introduced immediately after the disposal of the Tariff.
– As soon as we had disposed of the Tariff and of one or two essential measures, the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill was brought forward. Once having become free from the Tariff, I do not believe that, if we had rearranged the whole of our business, we could have introduced the measure more than a week earlier.
– The GovernorGeneral
– The Governor-General is not to be placed in a worse position. The Government propose to ask the House to deal with the question shortly on the additional Estimates. They will then inform the House of the amount which will be necessary to meet these allowances up to the 1st May, with every confidence that honorable members will realize that in discharging this debt they will be doing no more than justice to him and to their constituents. These amounts have been kept at the lowest possible figure, because His Excellency has necessarily conducted his establishment on a scale different to that which he would have followed if he had been certain that the Bill providing for an allowance of £S,000 a year would be carried. In addition, we; propose to bring before the House proposals which, if assented to, will be made the basis of the appointment of any GovernorGeneral in the future. He will be informed in the plainest possible way exactly what expenses are proposed to be paid by the Government, apart altogether from his salary, and exactly what he will be expected to provide for. The acting leader of the Opposition made a calculation this afternoon which, in the circumstances, is remarkably near the facts, save that when he says that the GovernorGeneral’s salary will be reduced to about £6,000 a year by the payment on his own account of expenses which under the GovernorGeneral’s Establishment Bill would have been provided for, he is supposing that future Governors-General will maintain the same rate of expenditure in these respects. Of course, it will not be incumbent upon them to maintain that rate of expenditure. That will depend upon their views in regard to the duties of the position. They may reduce the expenditure very much.
– A future GovernorGeneral would have to give up one Government House. That would suit our Victorian friends.
– I understand that there was practically very little dissent in regard to that matter. It was felt that the burden of maintaining a second establishment should not be forced upon His Excellency. That is to be a matter of choice. I now come to what was an important part of the indictment made by the acting leader of the Opposition against the Government. The honorable member alleged again and again - and in doing so was supported by interjections from honorable members behind him - that the intimation conveyed to the Governor-General by the Prime Minister and the Treasurer with regard-to the future expenses of Government House was not justified by the discussion which took place on the GovernorGeneral’s Establishment Bill. To that I beg leave to take exception, because if one thing was made plainer than another in the course of the dedate is was that His Excellency had taken altogether too generous a view of the responsibilities of his office ; that the House had no desire that he should undertake the vast expenditure to which he had been committing himself ; that on the contrary honorable members wished him to understand that the salary provided for the Governor-General was not intended to be disbursed for the benefit of this State, and that, subject only to deductions for what I have previously termed his semiprivate expenses, the whole of his salary should be available for his private purposes, but this House wished it to be understood that for the future no allowances of what I have termed a semi-private character should be made, and that it would pay only what may be distinguished by the name of official allowances.
– I” do not think that that question was under consideration.
– It .was not under consideration in the shape of any formal amendment, but thu expression of opinion from every quarter of this chamber meant that a dividing line was to be drawn between the expenses in which the GovernorGeneral was involved in the discharge of his purely official functions, and expenditure, upon such items as the Prime Minister detailed when moving the second reading of the Establishment Bill. In consequence of the decision of the House, an intimation was given to His Excellency that, whatever the views of the Government might be, it would not be wise for him to incur any obligations in . respect to the latter class of expenditure in the expectation that the outlay would afterwards be refunded by Parliament. We.kept ourselves free to moke proposals to Parliament after further consideration of the whole subject, and indicated that if Parliament was of opinion that other items were fair as official expenses, they would be added to the list. But we informed His Excellency that, not only could we give no guarantee .that anything further would be granted, but that he would be acting wisely if he proceeded upon the assumption that not one penny more than what I have termed official allowances would be granted to him.
– Was any indication given to him as to what would be considered official allowances ?
– Yes ; detailed information. The Government indicated to him that they believed that Parliament was prepared to regard as official expenditure the up-keep of the Government House or Houses and grounds, including the wages of gardeners, of the hall porter, who acts as caretaker for the public part of the buildings, of the mechanic who looks after the electric light, water supply, gas, and so on, and of two or three cleaners : the expenses incurred in connexion with Executive Council functions - the salary of the clerk to the Executive Council, and stationery ; and stationery, telegrams, and postage upon official business. The allowance for telegrams Old telephones practically covers all such expenditure, since it is very difficult to separate purely private telegrams from those which are incidental to public functions. His Excellency was also informed that provision would be made for his orderlies by a re-arrangement of their duties, and for his railway travelling, and, if necessary, other travelling, when visiting the various States. The expenditure upon those items has in the past been met by the Government. The only condition upon which the Government Houses in Sydney and Melbourne were transferred to the Commonwealth was that they should be maintained by the Commonwealth. , In consequence of the Royal visit these was a certain amount of expenditure upon them which has been properly charged to that account, and has been paid by the States, and consequently the expenditure upon maintenance, repairs, and so on, is smaller for the first year of occupancy than it will be afterwards ; but we expect that in future years £3,000 per annum will be the very largest sum required for all purposes. The items of expenditure which have been regarded as quasi-private, and which His Excellency has been informed will not be defrayed by the Commonwealth, include the salaries of his staff, the gas, electric light, and fuel burned in the private apartments of his establishment, flags, printing, and stationery required in connexion with entertainments - which, although they appear small items, represent a good deal of money - breakages, and hire of marquees. Formerly the wages of orderlies were paid by the Government, but, as I have stated, this has now been altered. At the same, time, the Government intimated to His Excellency that possibly they would submit further proposals to Parliament, though they could give no assurance that they would be carried. All the items which I have named were enumerated by the Prime Minister in moving the second reading of the Establishment Bill, aud come to about £4,000 per annum, while the remaining £4,000, which constituted the balance of the £S,000 as’ked for, was to assist in defraying expenses of entertainment.
– So that the Governor-General’s salary is really only £6,000 a year.
– If the Governor-General continues to spend £4,000 per annum upon the items named, his net salary will be only £6,000 per annum, but if the office is regarded purely as political, involving no special social or ceremonial duties and obligations, his expenditure can be very greatly reduced. But every occupant of the position must manage his expenditure in accordance with his own conception of the dignity of the position. It seems to me the most natural thing in the world that a spirited and generous manlike Lord Hopetoun, with the ideas which he entertains as to the duties and responsibilities of his office in social and ceremonial directions, has taken his decision upon receiving an intimation from Parliament that what we desire is the fulfilment of political duties only, and not the undertaking of social obligations which he has discharged at lavish expense. .
– Did npt the Government regard the undertaking given sixteen months ago as binding ?
– The Prime Minister explained that it was intimated to His Excellency that all the Government could undertake to do was to submit the matter to Parliament. It would have been misleading to give him any further assurance.
– But the Government must have considered the suggestion of His Excellency a fair one.
– I still think it a fair one. Remembering that the inception of the Commonwealth was ushered in by celebrations of an extraordinary character, and that the opening of this Parliament was signalized by the presence of Royal visitors in our. midst, we were exceptionally fortunate in having as Governor-General a man who had filled in the Imperial Government a post which made him a perfect master 6i the ceremonial expected upon such an occasion. It would have been impossible to obtain any other man with the same knowledge, and who would have manifested the same liberality. Whatever we may agree upon as the future limitations of the office as purely political, when we were fortunate enough to obtain a man who was in every way fitted by his great constitutional experience, knowledge, and judgment for the political duties that had to be discharged, and, as a former Lord Chamberlain, for the performance of his social and ceremonial duties, we might well have faced this exceptional expenditure. Afterwards we could have limited the expenditure upon future Governor-Generals requiring only the performance of mere political duties, which, though of great dignity in their own sphere, would, since they carry with them smaller social obligations, require a smaller expenditure from the person appointed to perform them.
– Yet the Government declined to take an atom of responsibility in regard to the Establishment Bill.
– Not at all. The Government took the responsibility of urging their proposals upon honorable members, who jeered at them then as now, and who would have jeered whatever our attitude had been.
– The Government allowed the Bill to be taken out of their hands.
– No one can deny that the measure was placed before Parliament under conditions which were unfavorable, and, but for the Prime Minister’s immediate departure for England, it would not have been introduced at that time. But the honorable member for Wentworth must remember that the Government had either to proceed with it then, or defer its consideration until after the departure of the Minister who had been in personal intercourse with His Excellency, and could answer any questions which honorable members might wish to put to him.
– Why has the Governor-General resigned?
– I take it that he has resigned because this House has intimated that in future his office is to be merely political, and that he is not to occupy what may be termed the Imperial position of the Viceroy of India, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and the Governor-General of Canada. The Governor-General of Canada, despite the difference of the situation of the two countries, receives allowances which cover some of the items that we have determined must be covered by our Governor-General’s private expenditure. But, although the measure was notbrought forward as we should have wished if we had a free choice in the matter, its earlier consideration having been delayed by the Tariff and by other important measures of legislation,no one can suppose that its fate would have been different either earlier or later. In any case the result would have been the same. It is the result which the people regret.
– They regret that the Governor-General is leaving, but they do not regret the action of this House.
– They regret the departure of the Governor-General. That regret is universal and sincere, but the fact itself was not foreseen by Ministers, except as a remote contingency. His Excellency was scrupulously careful not to convey any hint or intimation of his intentions in the event of the rejection of the Bill. He was careful to observe the perfectly constitutional attitude he has always maintained - to allow his advisers to take the action they thought best, and to leave himself free to follow his own course. So far from regarding it as an indication of displeasure on Ms part, that he should have communicated with the Secretary of State for the Colonies without informing his Ministers of the fact, I take it that he so acted out of natural delicacy. If the Secretary of State had urged any consideration upon him that would have induced him to alter his opinion, it might have seemed as if he had been endeavouring to bring pressure to bear upon the Government and upon this Parliament by giving an intimation of a possible withdrawal from office. He conducted his communications with the Secretary of State quite apart from the Government, who knew nothing of them before the day on which they were laid upon the table in the Senate. We knew of them at midday on that date, and before the night closed, my honorable colleague, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, had laid the despatches upon the table of the Senate, and through the Senate before the public of the Commonwealth, within less than twelve hours of the time they were placed in the hands of the Ministry. I submit that, through the circumstances under which this proposal originated, owing to the action of New South Wales, the position in which the Government were placed owing to the unexpected prolongation of the session, the accumulation of important public business, and the necessity for dealing with the matter before the Prime Minister left for England, though they do not relieve us of the responsibility of having mistaken the situation, they do relieve us of any imputation of having neglected what we conceived to be our duty to Parliament, and to His Excellency the Governor-General. If opportunity had offered, we should have chosen a better time to bring the matter forward. We had but one hope, and it was that we should be able to pass our Bill. However much we may regret the result of this untoward series of circumstances, we feel that our action was taken in good faith, and with an earnest desire, on the one side, to keep this Chamber in a position of absolute mastery and freedom, and on the other to leave His Excellency as free as he has always been from any suspicion of self-seeking. We have, in short, endeavoured to discharge a painful duty as best we could, under what, I think, all honorable members will admit were circumstances of unprecedented difficulty.
– There is no need to enter upon airy extravagant eulogy of the Governor-General, nor is it necessary to indulge in any depreciatory references to His Excellency. We are concerned with the behaviour of the Government in concealing certain material facts from honorable members. There can be no question that about seventeen months ago the Ministry entered into an arrangement with His Excellency the Governor-General that a Bill would be brought forward providing for certain allowances. When we come to examine these allowances, I am bound to say that, as much of the expenditure would go on even though the Governor-General were not here, it ought not to be charged against him personally. Into that, however, it is not necessary to enter at present. I wish to direct attention to the duplicity of the Government. On the 31st July, last year, the honorable member for South Australia, Sir Langdon Bonython, having evidently heard something of the matter, asked the Prime Minister the following question : - ls there any truth in the report that an allowance has been made to a distinguished person in the Commonwealth (the Governor-General) ?
This question was asked during the debate on a motion for an adjournment, moved by the honorable and learned member for Illawarra, in connexion with the allowance question. In reply, the Prime Minister said : -
No. No allowances have been made to the Governor-General up to the present time. As far as I understand, the Governor-General is likely to lose from .-£16,000 to £18,000. a year owing to the amount by which his expenditure, will nave overtopped the allowance he gets. That, however, is a matter for future consideration, and no allowance has been made to the GovernorGeneral that I am aware of. If there is any such allowance made I will inform the House.
This was after the Government had agreed to submit a Bill providing for special allowances to the Governor-General. It is perfectly true that the Prime Minister might say that his answer was merely words, but the Prime Minister should recollect that we have not yet reached such a low standard that a Minister can make any statement he pleases, and then say that he did not expect any one to believe it. By this reply, the Prime Minister communicated to the House - and intended to communicate the one idea only - that no allowances were proposed, and that no arrangement had been entered into in regard to them. Now we know that he intended to mislead the House, and that he did mislead it.
The CHAIRM AN.- The honorable and learned member is not in order in saying that the Prime Minister intentionally misled the House.
– There is no doubt that the Prime Minister did mislead many honorable members, and if he did not understand the value of what he said, he knows less what he says than we sometimes give him credit for. If the Prime Minister did not know what the effect of these words would be, there is no value in language. In order to show the mistake he made, let me quote further. The idea was prevalent that the Ministry had entered into some arrangement with regard to the GovernorGeneral’s allowances, and that it was their duty to acquaint the House with the facts. On the 29th August, one month after thedate of the question to which I have just referred, the honorable and learned member for Corio asked the Prime Minister : -
It will hardly be credited that the answer of the Prime Minister to the first question was “ No ; “ to the second question, “ No4 communication of this kind has been made by this Government ;” and to the third question, “No.” Yet we have despatches before us which show that an arrangement had already been entered into. The House concluded from these answers that no arrangement had been made, and the least we can say is that it was extremely wrong for the Prime Minister to pursue the course he did. Why did not the Government take the House into their confidence ? It may be said that it would have made no difference to the result; but what we complain of is that we had no opportunity of knowing that any arrangement had been entered into. If a promise were made by the Government, and the Governor-General acted upon it, I should feel bound, as one who allowed the Executive Government to exist, to support them in carrying out the arrangement entered into, but I should hold myself quite free five minutes afterwards to support a vote of want of confidence in them. We have known for a long time that the Maitland manifesto was a pure fiction, but we were scarcely prepared for an acknowledgment of this fact from the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General apparently thinks that the Prime Minister is not to be held responsible for what he said. He wa3 present on the occasion upon which that speech was delivered, and he may have been able to detect some humourous intention on* the part of the speaker. But the public did not know that this manifesto was intended as fiction. The intention was that the public should act on the manifesto, and it was acted on by a large number, with a result so unfortunate as to place the present Government in power, when, under other circumstances, Ministers might not have been able to even find seats in the House. As to quasi-official expenses, I do not think there is any intention to ask the Governor-General to meet them out of his own pocket. Whether or not we like the idea of a second Government House, I believe that an arrangement has been entered into between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales, that the Government House 36 y in that State must be kept up for the next five years, and that under that arrangement large expense has been incurred in renting and furnishing another establishment for the State Governor. That arrangement, I suppose, must be adhered to, but subsequently it will be open to us to condemn the Ministry for entering into such undertakings without the knowledge of honorable members. The Government seem to be dead to a sense of responsibility to such an extent that the entire intention of the Allowance Bill was altered with the assistance of the honorable and learned member for North Melbourne. The Government has throughout shown a great lack of dignity, and of determination to insist on measures which they introduce. If I were to relate private conversations, I think it might be shown that the. Government made a promise that this Allowance Bill would not be proceeded with in view of the prevailing feeling of the House. If the Government were bound by another promise to proceed with the Bill, that promise should have been fulfilled, or, in face of defeat, the Ministry should have resigned. By their mode of conducting business, the Government are reflecting great discredit on parliamentary institutions, and against this I must enter my emphatic protest.
– It is well that this matter has been brought before us, because for the first time we are able to place the responsibility where it should lie. The attempts to saddle the Ministry with responsibility have utterly failed, the reply of the Attorney-General showing conclusively that the Government are not answerable for the effect of action taken before the Commonwealth was called into existence. The whole trouble arises from the fact that the Governor-General has been expected to reside alternately in Melbourne and Sydney. According to the despatch of the Colonial Secretary, it is considered desirable that the Governor-General should maintain a residence in Sydney.
– Apparently it was the Colonial Secretary who started that idea, seeing that the despatch was sent from England before the inauguration of the Commonwealth.
– I do not think that the Colonial Secretary is primarily responsible. If the correspondence I have asked for is placed before the House, we shall find where the’ responsibility lies.
– It may have been an inspiration from New South Wales.
– In my opinion that is so. When the Governor - General left England, all arrangements were made for himself and his family to land at Melbourne, and I do not think he had the remotest idea he would be expected to reside in Sydney.
Mr.F. E. McLean. - What was the idea of coming to Melbourne ?
– Melbourne is the seat of government.
– The Constitution does not say that Melbourne is the seat of Government, but merely that the Parliament shall meet there.
– Like everybody else, except a few people in New South Wales, the Governor-General naturally supposed that his residence would be where Parliament met. The first intimation we had that the Governor-General would be expected to keep up two Government houses was received when His Excellency was on the sea, and a significant sentence in the despatch is -
I need scarcely point outthat maintaining two, and ultimately three, separate houses will involve very heavy expenditure, and I have already suggested to the Government of New South Wales that, until some provision has been made for entertainment allowance, the GovernorGeneral should not be expected to entertain largely at Sydney.
It is taken for granted that the GovernorGeneral would reside for the most part in the place where the Parliament met, and the special reservation is made that the entertainment in Sydney shall not be large. In the succeeding despatch an entirely different attitude is adopted by the Colonial Secretary, when he had discovered that the Bill passed in New South Wales had been rejected by the Victorian Parliament. He then points out that it will be necessary for the States to provide not for the upkeep of Government houses, but for an entertainment allowance. The term “ entertainment allowance,” I am glad to say, was not allowed to creep into the Bill introduced by the Government, and is one which I have never seen or heard exceptin these despatches. It is a term which I trust we shall never again hear in connexion with the GovernorGeneral’s establishment. We desire that the resolution adopted by the State Premiers in conference in Sydney, at the beginning of 1901, in reference to State
Governors,should also obtain in regard to the Governor-General. That resolution was to the effect that Governors should not be expected to supplement their salaries from their private means. We have no desire that a gentleman occupying the high and responsible position of Governor-General should be expected to have recourse to his private means, especially for the purpose of giving entertainments. In clause 6 of the second despatch from Mr. Chamberlain is the following -
From the point of view of public interest, I consider it important that you should limit your hospitality in capitals other than Sydney strictly to such official entertainment as you may consider to be necessarily demanded, unless and until some fair and suitable provision be made by the States or by the Commonwealth for the expenses involved.
I cannot understand a statesman of Mr. Chamberlain’s experience and knowledge using such expressions. As one owing, and owning to, the firmest allegiance to the mother country, I say unhesitatingly that it is such expressions as these which will fret away the ties which now bind us to the Empire. This is a distinct interference with the functions of the Governor-General, and an interference which is calculated not only to destroy the good feeling between Australia and the motherland, but also to stir up strife amongst the States. Here is a definite instruction to the Governor-General to treat one State more favorably than another; and the reason is not far to seek. This paragraph in the despatch is calculated to do enormous harm to the loyal and patriotic relations which exist, and, I trust, will continue, between the Home Government and the people of the Commonwealth. I am strongly of opinion that it would have been better if the Government had come down with the Bill earlier in the session, not because its fate would have been different in that event, but because the only cause of complaint now possessed by the Opposition would have been removed. The treatment which the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill received was meted out by the House as a whole, and the Opposition as well as honorable members on this side must accept the responsibility for it.
– We are perfectly prepared to do so.
– Of course no one is more ready to accept responsibility than is an Opposition. That has always been the case and always will be. No one regrets more than I do the effect of the action taken by the Colonial-office and the Government of New South Wales. It has resulted in the direction of binding the Commonwealth Government, which was not then formed, to a course which the House of Representatives, at any rate, cannot follow. I should be prepared to do to-day what I did when the Bill was before us.
– The majority of the House would do the same. But does not the honorable member think that the correspondence should have been placed before the House?
– I should have preferred that course to have been followed, but I do not think that it would have made the slightest difference. The result would have been the same even if the Bill bad been introduced earlier than it was. With regard to the question of salary, I feel that we have been placed in a position which we should not be called upon to occupy. Some votes were given by honorable members under a misapprehension as to the direction in which certain moneyswere to be applied. When the Constitution was framed, and it was decided that £10,000 a year should be the salary of the Governor-General, I do not think it was intended that that amount should cover the maintenance ofGovernment House, whether owned by the State or the Commonwealth. In time to come Government House will be the property of the Commonwealth, and it will be our duty to maintain it. The Governor-General will not be expected to keep the building in repair. The provision of a house for the Governor-General is really part of the contract in connexion with his acceptance of the office. We have now two Government Houses placed at our disposal absolutely free of rent, and it is only to be expected that those houses, the capital cost of which amounts to some hundreds of thousands of pounds, and on which over £30,000 was expended quite recently, should be handed back to the States in something like the order that they were in when the Commonwealth took possession of them. Under these circumstances, this or any other Government will be justified in asking annually for a vote to keep the Government Houses in a state of repair and to maintain them properly. Beyond that, I am not prepared to go. It would be a breach of the contract entered into between the States and the Commonwealth if, by any subterfuge, we were to add to the salary of £10,000 per annum provided for the Governor-General in the Constitution. A successful attempt to add to that amount was made by the New South Wales Legislature, but a similar attempt in Victoria failed on two grounds.
– It failed very properly.
– Undoubtedly. I think that the honorable and learned member assisted in throwing out the Bill ; at any rate, I did. The main ground on which that Bill was rejected was that it was an interference with the spirit of the Constitution.; the second ground was that alluded to by Mr. Chamberlain in his despatches, namely, that it would not be consonant with the dignity of the Governor-General that he should be dependent upon individual States for any additional salary or allowance. The occupancy of the two Government Houses is a matter relating to the Commonwealth and the States themselves ; the Governor-General is under no obligation to the States in that respect, and that is an additional reason why we should maintain them. The initial mistake, made apparently without the knowledge of the Governor-General, was that during his voyage from England to Australia, it was considered necessary by the Colonial-office to instruct him to keep up residences in two States. Those who were responsible for that mistake should bear the responsibility, and if it is a pecuniary one they should discharge it. Beyond the actual expenditure on the up keep of Government Houses, I am not prepared to go.I feel satisfied that the effect of this discussion will be to show the Government that, although they may not have been wise from one point of view in delaying the introduction of the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill, the only objection that can be raised to the delay is that it gave a chance to the Opposition to gird at them. Much as we deplore the result which followed the rejection of the Bill introduced by the Government, I should be prepared to adopt the same course in regard to it if it were before the House again to-day.
– One certainly must admire the skill with which the Attorney-General has very nearly succeeded in extracting the Ministry out of a difficult position. When listening to his eloquence, one for a moment feels that his reason is under a spell, and the issue which the Attorney-General wishes to be forgotten almost dies out of the memory. When I read the despatches and the references to the whole matter relating to the GovernorGeneral which appeared in the press,’ I thought that the point in regard to which all Australia would feel the most disappointment was that sixteen months had elapsed from the time that the proposal for an increased allowance was made to the date of the introduction of the Bill, and that even then, except for a sort of cryptic utterance by the Prime Minister, not a word was dropped that would lead to the belief that these despatches had been received from the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Notwithstanding the happy expressions of the Attorney-General, he has failed to get rid of the charge which can be levelled against the Prime Minister of having led - I will not say the Colonial-office, because it had nothing to do with the matter - but the Governor-General, to assume that at an early date in the first session of the Federal Parliament the Bill presented only three weeks ago would be placed before honorable members. Had that Bill been introduced at first, and had it been rejected, the Governor-General could have circumscribed his entertainments to the dimensions which Australia wished. If any expression were needed, other than that provided by the allowance fixed in the Constitution, as to the extent to which we wished the GovernorGeneral’s establishment to imitate the somewhat anachronistic official rubrics of the Court at home, I think it might be found in the particularly ample debate which took place upon this point in the Convention. There was, at all events, an adequate debate upon the point. The allowance which was fixed in 1891 as the minimum was inserted in the Constitution Bill by the Convention, not as a minimum, but as an allowance. It was fixed, not as an allowance which, until changed by Parliament, was the lowest that ought to be granted, but which the members of the Convention believed the people had demanded them to make. There was an express indication that our desire was not that the Governor-General should imitate the Court of the Viceroy of India - an establishment whose splendor is required to impress subject millions, accustomed to barbaric display, over which the Viceroy of India is supposed to rule. I need not make any comparison between the vice-regal establishment’ of Ireland, where there are over 5,000,000 of people, and the GovernorGeneral’s establishment here. The establishment in Ireland is really a vice-regal establishment, although its entertainments are confined to a select few whose politics run in the same line as do those of the LordLieutenant himself. I should be very sorry to see the vice-royalty of the land of my birth made the exemplar for this country. On this point I will say that, without being niggardly, we should so fix the salary of the Governor-General that he will riot be required to provide for expensive entertainments. In the- first place, these entertainments must necessarily be confined to a very small circle, on account of location for one reason, and class for another. Besides that, I think that in the Presidential Court of the United States of America, whose Constitution we have made our. great exemplar, we have dignity combined with simplicity. I do not suppose that there is a Court in Europe which is more dignified and yet more simple in regard to all its entertainments. It is for us, under conditions which are” in .all respects similar to those of the United States, to emulate the modesty and simplicity of the presidential office there rather than the splendour of the vice-regal office in India or Ireland. The chief charge which can be issued against the Government - and it is not a party charge, because I can understand a Government supporter being quite as exigent in his demand for an explanation as is any member of the Opposition - is that they have been somewhat remiss, to put it mildly, in failing to introduce the Bill which was promised sixteen months ago. We have the denial from the Attorney-General, and I accept it if he intended it to be as comprehensive as it was, that no communication was made by Mi-. Chamberlain to Mr. Barton when the Prime Minister went home as one of the federal delegates to explain the Constitution. It was explicitly stated in the Melbourne press that not only had Mr. Chamberlain spoken to Mr. Barton in regard to his desire that a larger amount than that for which provision was made in the Constitution should be allowed for entertainment by the Governor-General, but that there had also been a consultation with Lord Hopetoun. Lord Hopetoun was consulted, not as the Governor-General elect, but as one who had experience, and had acquired superlative popularity in Australia, as to the entertainment which was necessary. It was expressly stated that Mr. Barton had said that he could not bind Australia, as he was not a public representative, but that he thought that a Bill would be introduced early in the first session of the Federal Parliament, and probably assented to, similar to that which was placed before, us three weeks ago.
– The Prime Minister could not have made that statement without some of his colleagues knowing of it.
– Has the Attorney-General ever spoken to the Prime Minister on the question ?
– I was a member of the federal delegation, and we were accustomed to inform each other of any matters which took place in relation to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
– I at once accept that statement as a denial that any suggestion was made by Mr. Chamberlain. I suppose that the explanation of the cables is that the Premier of New South Wales, somewhere about the end of 1899. or the beginning of 1900, approached the Imperial Government in reference to a second vice-regal residence at Sydney, pending the establishment of a federal capital. An Act was passed by the New South Wales Parliament at the end of 1900, voting £3,700 as the share of that colony towards an additional allowance of £10,000 a year to the Governor-General. Mr. Chamberlain’s despatch of the 30th November, 1900, refers to the .fact that communications upon the point had reached him from the colonies. I do not know what the people’ of Australia thought about the matter, but it seems to me that the then Premier of New South Wales - the present - Minister for Home Affairs - mistook what was due to them when he somewhat surreptitiously approached the Imperial Government upon the point of having a second official residence in New South Wales, and attempted to supplement the allowances of the Governor-General by a vote of the New South Wales Parliament. I think that the action of the New South Wales Government should at once have evoked from Mr. Chamberlain a refusal to interfere at the request of a State ; but apparently he reluctantly acquiesced in it at the beginning, and, in his second despatch, accepted it. In his first despatch, he mentioned that a suggestion had been received from the Government of New South Wales in regard to supplementing the GovernorGeneral’s allowance, and in paragraph 8 he says : -
But, even if such an allowance is provided, by New South Wales, and a similar allowance is provided by Victoria, I think ‘that your Ministers will agree that it is not desirable that the Governor-General should be in any way dependent on such allowances from any of the State Parliaments. As Her Majesty’s representative in the Commonwealth, it is to the Commonwealth as a whole that his duty lies, and it appears to me that any arrangement which would give any individual State or States a special claim to his presence or services would be open to decided objections, and that any such arrangement, if made at all, should only continue until the Commonwealth Parliament has made adequate provision in the matter.
Then in his despatch of 1 1th January, 1901, he mentions that, while the Parliament of New South Wales had passed an Act providing for an annual contribution towards the expenses of His Excellency’s establishment, Victoria had rejected a similar proposal, and in that month the Government knew that the States would not make any contribution of this kind, and that therefore it would be incumbent upon them to moot the proposition in the Commonwealth Parliament at the earliest date. The adoption of such a course was due to the Governor-General to enable him to understand his position, and it was suggested by Mr. Chamberlain when he wrote -
I shall be glad if you will lay this despatch before your Ministers, and will express to them my hope that they will be able to place these matters on a satisfactory footing when Parliament assembles.
The matter, however, was not put before Parliament until after we had been in session thirteen months, and, therefore, I think there is cause for an, at any rate, mild remonstrance at the Prime Minister’s dereliction of duty in this respect. As regards Mr. Chamberlain’s despatches, I think it unwise for the Secretary of State for the Colonies to make any suggestions through the Governor-General in regard to the local policy of Australia. I do not say that the terms he uses amount to dictation, but his despatch contains strong arguments to influence the judgment of Ministers, who are the servants of this House. For instance, he writes -
So far as your personal staff is concerned, I trust that your Ministers will readily agree that it is impossible to provide for them out of the salary fixed by the Act, and’ that they will be prepared to recommend to Parliament to make adequate provision for this charge. The Parliament of Canada has provided for the establishment of the Governor-General of the Dominion, in addition to his salary of 50,000 dollars, which is rather more than the salary of the Governor-General of Australia, the allowances for establishment, travelling and office expenses, amounting to nearly 30,000 dollars, in addition to the fixed salary.
Looking at the relative magnitude and importance of the duties which will fall to the staff of Your Excellency and those performed by the staff of the Governor-General of Canada, and the fact that the larger measure of independence left to the States in Australia than that enjoyed by the Provinces of the Dominion will increase rather than diminish the duties falling on Your Excellency’s staff, a larger provision than that made by Canada will no doubt be necessary, especially as the cost of living in Sydney and Melbourne must be greater than in Ottawa.
Mr. Chamberlain there decides that a salary of £10,000, and allowances amounting to £5,000, are inadequate for the requirements of the Governor-General of Australia, and the Prime Minister should have said a little more than is contained in his minute of the 21st February, 1901, in the way of expressing the dissatisfaction of the Ministry at Mr. Chamberlain’s endeavour to influence their policy in regard to a purely local matter. The character of our GovernorGeneral’s establishment must accord with our ideas of what is fit and necessary, whereas the ideas of Mr. Chamberlain are derived from his knowledge of what is done in the old country, and of the expenditure upon the establishment of the GovernorGeneral of the Dominion of Canada. But, although the Canadian Governor-General receives a salary of 50,000 dollars, and allowances amounting to nearly 30,000 dollars, the Lieutenant -Governors of the eight Provinces of Canada receive salaries which average less than £2,228 per annum, ranging from 10,000 dollars per annum for the LieutenantGovernors of Quebec and Ontario, to 7,000 dollars per annum for the LieutenantGovernor of the north-west territories. In other words, their provincial average is lower than our State minimum. Therefore, taking into account the salaries paid to our State Governors, Australia pays more for establishments of this kind than is paid by Canada, and cannot be regarded as acting in a niggardly fashion in refusing to increase the allowances of her Governor-General. It is very much to be regretted that the Ministry deferred the introduction of the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill until last month, and that they then gave the House no proper indication of what had taken place in reference to the matter. In regard to the statement of the Attorney-General as to the relations of the Governor-General with his Ministers, it is, of course, always understood that Ministers are in complete accord with the Governor-Genera], and as we cannot conceive that- his action was influenced by any personal reason relating to the conduct of the Ministers, we did not expect that the Attorney-General would come down with a certificate from him stating that there had been no dissatisfaction between him and them . We ought to form our opinion upon what we can read in the despatches.
– I did not introduce the matter ; I was practically challenged.
– No doubt the AttorneyGeneral got permission from His Excellency the Governor-General-
– I did not get any permission. His Excellency stated that if any one of three things were alleged I should do him a favour by contradicting them. One of these matters has been referred to, and only in regard to that have I complied with His Excellency’s request.
– I can quite quite understand the Governor-General being generous to the Ministry ; but, at the same time, I think it is unwise to introduce any personal expression of opinion on the part of the Governor-General, apart from the despatches which have been exchanged with the Colonial Office. If a reason why the GovernorGeneral did not resign could be put before the House then a reason, if such existed, other than that mentioned in the despatch might just as well be given. Does the Attorney-General for one moment say that it would be well, for instance, to state that among the causes of His Excellency’s resignation was dissatisfaction with his Ministers? Surety honorable members would be justified in the present circumstances in expressing their opinion as to what the real cause was. I did not think the action of the Government was quite in accordance with what ought to be the constitutional practice, and hence my interjection.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).As I moved the amendment in favour of granting a lump sum to His Excellency the Governor-General instead of giving him an annual allowance, I have followed this discussion with exceptional interest. I must join in the expression of heartfelt regret at the consequences of the refusal of Parliament to pass the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill in the form in which it was introduced. At the same time, I cannot help feeling that it will be a great advantage to have our Commonwealth ideals of expenditure placed on a sound basis. It is well that it should be known in the Colonial-office and elsewhere that we do not desire a royal or quasi-royal establishment to be maintained by the Governor-General. The honorable member for Wentworth blamed the Government for not having placed the despatches which have passed between Mr. Chamberlain and His Excellency the Governor-General before Parliament, and he implied that if those despatches had been presented to us, we might have regarded the Bill with mors favour, and probably have passed it. I feel convinced, however, that if these despatches had been before the Chamber when the Bill was under discussion, even the amended proposal would not have been carried. We adopted what I believe was the right course, because it was felt that His Excellency had been put to a large amount of expense in connexion with the visit paid by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, not to him, but to the people of Australia. If the House had had the despatches before it, honorable members would not have gone quite as far as they did go, because the despatches make the position worse than before. In the first place there is the matter which the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, has referred to, and I am surprised that this has not received more attention from the Attorney-General. In the concluding part of his despatch Mr. Chamberlain shows an amazing ignorance of the relations of the Colonial Office towards the Governments of States like ours. Not only that, but he shows that he has allowed himself to be influenced in dealing with the Commonwealth by representations made by Ministers of one of the States. He says : -
I shall be glad if you will lay this despatch before your Ministers, and will express to them my hope that they will be able to place these matters on a satisfactory footing when Parliament dissembles.
At this time His Excellency was on the sea coming out to Australia, and evidently no agreement regarding allowances had’ then been entered into. Mr. Chamberlain asks the Governor-General to place a letter before his Ministers and to intimate to them his hope that a certain measure would be carried. I do not think the people of Australia will allow their Ministers to be influenced by the head of the Colonialoffice. The statement I have quoted is one which, when its full force is realized, will lead to a great deal of heart-searching in the Commonwealth.
– The Secretary of State for the Colonies has the selection of the men who are to fill the office of Governor-General, and if he wants a man of a certain class to be appointed, corresponding provision must be made.
– Neevetherless, we should object to the Colonial Office dictating to Ministers, or even expressing their views to Ministers. Mr. Chamberlain . also observes : -
During the period preceding the establishment of the federal capital, it is intended that the Governor-General should OCCUpY the Government Houses at both Sydney and Melbourne.
Who told Mr. Chamberlain of this 1 It was not the Commonwealth Government,, because it had not been formed at this time. Who told Mr. Chamberlain that the Governor-General was to occupy two residences 1 There was evidently some correspondence between Mr. Chamberlain and the Government of New South Wales, because/Mr. Chamberlain says -
I have already suggested to the Government of New South Wales that until some provision has been made for entertainment allowance, the Governor-General should not be expected to entertain largely at Sydney.
This looks very much as if the Government of New South Wales had been writing to Mr. Chamberlain. What made the Government of New South Wales suggest anything with regard to the Governor-General, who is an officer of the Commonwealth, and not an officer of the New South Wales Government 1 Why should Mr. Chamberlain allow his judgment to be affected by representations made by the Government of any particular State 1 It appears as if the Government of New South Wales had suggested that there must be provision made for the residence of the Governor-General in Sydney, because Mr. Chamberlain says -
I have an assurance that a Bill will be introduced into the New South Wales Parliament to provide the allowance.
This refers to the entertainment allowance. Behind all the talk as to the amount of the allowance there is the more important question of our relation to the Colonialoffice, and I strongly protest against the action of Mr. Chamberlain in directing the Governor-General to inform his Ministers of what he expects them to do. I am glad that the Government made no answer to this despatch. Mr. Chamberlain appears to have been influenced by two false notions as to matters of fact. One of his impressions seems to be that the people of Australia have a vulgar desire to be entertained ; that we have the vulgarity to pay a man a certain amount of money in order that he may spend it upon champagne for us. I do not think that is the prevailing idea of Australians.
– Does the honorable and learned member suppose Mr. Chamberlain cares twopence how the Governor entertains t The honorable and learned member is endeavouring to side-track the discussion.
- Mr. Chamberlain also says, contrasting Australia with Canada -
The Governor-General of Canada is not in receipt of an entertainment allowance, but there can be little doubt that the expenses of entertainment in Australia will be far heavier that in the case of Canada. Until the new federal capital is built, the Governor-General will, of necessity, have to reside in the great centres of population, in the midst of a large and wealthy society much given to hospitality.
I wonder how the people of Canada would like that if they knew of it 1
– They will be able to bear that with equanimity.
– In speaking of people being much “given to hospitality,” I suppose Mr. Chamberlain means those who are much given to receiving hospitality. Mr. Chamberlain also had the false idea that the people of Australia expected the GovernorGeneral to occupy two Government Houses. Neither the Federal Government nor the Federal Parliament are responsible for that notion. They never countenanced it, nor were they ever asked to do so.
– The Federal Government have provided upon the Estimates for the up-keep of two Government Houses.
– That is as to the time which is past. I am speaking of the future, and if anything good is to result from this discussion the-f future Governor-General will know exactly the conditions under which he is to occupy his office. I believe the Federal (Parliament will never sanction the expenditure of funds for the purpose of carrying on two Government Houses. I do not care whether the Governor-General lives, in Sydney or in Melbourne, but in the present critical state of our finances it is not desirable that we should incur any expenditure beyond that which is absolutely necessary. Mr. Chamberlain also shows a wonderful want of tact in his second letter, and, with an abundance of vulgarity, I might almost say, refers to the point that the Government of New South Wales have provided £3,00 per annum, whilst the Government of Victoria have not provided anything. Then, as a result apparently of this, he says -
From the point of view of public interest, I consider it important that you should limit your hospitality in capitals other than Sydney strictly to such official entertainment as you may consider to be necessarily demanded, unless and until some fair and suitable provision be made by the State or by the Commonwealth for the expenses involved.
So that because the other States hare not provided any money from the State coffers towards meeting the expenses of the Governor-General, he is to limit his hospitality. What an unworthy notion !
– The suggestion of the honorable and learned member is unworthy.
– I take the despatch as it stands, and it can only mean that because a sum of money had been provided by one State the Governor-General was to limit his hospitality in the other States to what was absolutely necessary. I am very glad, at all events, that the Government has made it clear that some of the statements made in the press a few weeks ago are without foundation. One statement was to the effect that there was a compact before Lord Hopetoun came out ; but that idea, I understand, has been absolutely exploded. Then it is not true, as represented in some newspapers, that the salary of £10,000 is to cover all allowances. I understand that in addition to the £10,000, there is £5,000 or £6,000 a year, which will be still allowed for official expenses, - and that the only difficulty is in regard to some £4,000 of unofficial, or quasi-private’ charges. It is very hard to draw the line but, at the same time, I think that what is good enough for Canada ought to be good enough for us. I do not admit that there is between Canada and Australia, in the matter of wealth or hospitality, any distinction to justify an increased expenditure. I am told that in Washington the president gets only £10,000 and £4,000 allowances.
– That is not correct.
– It is absolutely true.
– I have the information on the authority of one who has spent a good deal of time in America. If ‘it be true, I think that, in regard to our GovernorGeneral, we should be content with a salary of £10,000 a year, and £5,000 or £6,000 for absolutely essential expenses. I hope that in the course of a few years we shall gradually dock even those sums, because I do not think that, having regard to the huge public debt which we have contracted during a long course of years, and having regard to our resources, we are justified in making such big payments. We rant no royalty or quasi-royalty in these parts. We want our affairs carried on under the regis of the British Crown with as much dignity, but, at the same time, as much simplicity as possible.
– (Tasmania). - The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne seemed to think it possible that I would go entirely with him in his remarks. I cannot do so. Although I admit fully that it is undesirable that the Secretary of State for the Colonies should interfere in any way whatever with our domestic legislation, or with the administration of our local affairs, I see that a distinction is to be drawn between interference in these directions and making suggestions on behalf of an Imperial officer representing the King and appointed by His Majesty through the agency of the Secretary of State. After all, these despatches are confidential, and, at the very utmost, criticism can extend only to questions of style.
– If they are confidential why are they given to us ?
– Ask the Ministry. I am exceedingly sorry to have to appear to disapprove of anything that the Government have done, or to find fault with Ministers generally, especially after coming under the blandishments of the AttorneyGeneral. But in this instance I think - and this will be a very violent utterance for me - that they have blundered in the most lamentable way. On the 2 1 st February, 1901, the Prime Minister informed His Excellency that a measure would be submitted to Parliament dealing with the situation as raised in the despatches of the Secretary of State ; that is to say, sixteen or seventeen months ago His Excellency was led to understand that this measure would be introduced. But we are told by the AttorneyGeneral that this Bill had to be postponed together with other important legislation, owing to want of time. The AttorneyGeneral informed us that the Judiciary Bill was of the very first importance, but in the most lamentable way, from his point of view, it had to be postponed. But where was the occasion to postpone the Establishment Bill, when, as events showed, two or three hours’ discussion were sufficient to settle the matter and have the measure passed or rejected, as the case might be t If honorable members have had reason to complain of the action of Ministers, still more has His Excellency reason to complain of having been kept in.a state of uncertainty for sixteen or seventeen months as to how he stood, or what he might expect in this matter. The AttorneyGeneral has told us of the necessarily large expenditure involved in the GovernorGeneral’s establishment, and has made a comparison between Australia and India ind Ireland. But in India and Ireland the governors are viceroys ; not merely representatives of Royalty, but, so far as semblance can be made, they are Royalty. Both keep up a court, at which presentations are made - those at Dublin holding good as though made at the Court of St. James. With all the paraphernalia and ceremony of a court, and all the entertainments which have to be provided, very much heavier expenditure is incurred by those viceroys than should be necessary in a Commonwealth, one of the boasts of which is that it is democratic, with a democratic form of government.
– That is what we want maintained.
– I am with the honorable member in the desire to maintain the democratic form of Government. I shall blame Ministers until they can throw off the responsibility of for one moment allowing the idea to be entertained that it is necessary for a Governor-General to keep up two separate establishments. All the Commonwealth can reasonably ask of His Excellency is that he should keep one establishment at one centre, wherever for the time being that centre may be. Inasmuch as the first Parliament must be held in Melbourne, and, according to present appearances, the session will continue for the whole three years, or a considerable portion of that period, what is more reasonable than that, for the time being, the GovernorGeneral’s establishment should be maintained here 1 That at once disposes of a very considerable portion of the cost which has led to the present discussion. There is not merely the maintenance of two houses, but the cost of moving from place to place ; and the latter must be very heavy, and such as the Governor-General ought not to be called upon to bear officially. As I said, I must blame Ministers until they can show that they have not permitted, encouraged, or even originated the idea that two establishments should be maintained.
– We point to Mr. Chamberlain’s despatches before we existed.
– But something transpired, I take it, before Mr. Chamberlain’s despatches. The Ministry are responsible for everything they did to indorse any view that there ought- to be two establishments. Of course, it could bc nothing more than a view ; nothing had been done by Act, or in any other way, up to the time ‘the Ministers came into office. It was for the Government to say that the idea of two establishments was one which they could not support, and that they would have only one - at the place at which, for the time being, the business of the Commonwealth was being carried on by Parliament. It is incumbent upon us - although it has not to be done now - to show the Commonwealth and the taxpayers, and also the Home authorities, what this Parliament intends to do, and to what extent we shall go in regard to expenditure. I am convinced that the Governor-General will not have cast on him any charge which ought not fairly to be borne out of his official salary of £10,000.
– It seems to me that what has occurred in this case is largely the result of misconception, and to understand how the misconception arose, something ought to be known of the history of the matter. I do not see why there has been all this reticence, because there is no apparent reason why some explanation should not have been made. The matter originated in New South Wales and with Sir William Lyne. At the time Sir William Lyne was Premier of that
State, and he represented to the Colonialoffice that until a site was selected as a federal capital, the official residence of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth should be in Sydney. Mr. Chamberlain, on receiving this representation, stated that he would offer no objection provided the federating States were agreeable, and that the Federal Administration approved. But Mr. Chamberlain went on to say that it would be impossible for the GovernorGeneral to maintain two establishments, and three when Government House is built at the new capital, unless the States or the Commonwealth provide for the upkeep of the Government Houses in Sydney and in Melbourne, for travelling expenses of the Governor-General and household, and for an entertainment allowance.
– When did he say that?
– That statement is contained in a despatch which was written prior to the coming into existence of the Commonwealth.
– Was the despatch published ?
– Yes. As. bearing upon the quotation which I have just made, honorable members will see that in the despatches which have been laid upon the table Mr. Chamberlain “ suggested to the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria that contributions should be made by those States towards the expenses of Lord Hopetoun’s residence at Sydney and Melbourne respectively.”
– Has the honorable member the date of the despatch from which he just quoted ?
– I am not sure of the date, but it was in 1900. As already pointed out by several honorable members, it was an extraordinary suggestion for Mr. Chamberlain to make, and he seems to have realized the fact, for in another part of one of the despatches before the House he says -
Any arrangement which would give any individual State or States special claim to Lord Hopetoun’s presence or services would be open to decided objections.
I should certainly think there could be no question about that. What happened, as the result of the representations made by Sir William Lyne, as Premier of New South Wales, to the Colonial-office ? In the New
South Wales Legislature a Bill was introduced, and was quietly passed. That Bill provided for a contribution of £3,000 by New South Wales towards the GovernorGeneral’s establishments, conditional upon £7,000 being contributed by the other States.
– In proportion to population ?
– Yes. Scarcely anything was known of the passage of that Bill until in the Victorian Parliament, Sir George Turner, who at the time was Premier of Victoria, submitted a similar measure which was rejected. The Bill was described as one “to authorise certain annual payments towards the increase ‘of the GovernorGeneral’s salary from £10,000 to £20,000,” and Sir George Turner went on to explain that the Victorian contribution would amount to a little less than £3,000 per annum.
– Was that statement as to the object of the Bill made at the time?
– No wonder the Bill was lost. It was intended that it should be lost.
– Sir George Turner is reported to have admitted that the Governor-General’s permanent residence seemed to be firmly fixed in Sydney, but that he would have to be in Melbourne for five or six months in the year, and that it was unfair to ask. him to keep up two establishments on a salary of £10,000 a year. It appears to me that the whole issue turns upon the words “ two establishments.” No Bill similar to that passed in New South Wales was carried in any other Legislature. What is the explanation of that? Apart from Victoria and New South Wales, no State is interested in the least degree in the provision of two residences for the GovernorGeneral. All the other States are perfectly content that he should have only one, and that it should be located in .the most desirable place, having regard to the Commonwealth as a whole.’ Personally I am disposed to think that the GovernorGeneral has not been treated fairly in this matter. As I mentioned at the outset, I believe that this is very largely the result of a misunderstanding. With the despatches, which I hold in my hand, and the minute signed by Mr. Barton in his possession, I think it is more than possible .that ! the Governor-General has proceeded on the j assumption that effect to some extent, at j any rate, would be given to Mr. Chamberlain’s suggestions. All this misunderstanding could have been completely cleared away, if the Government had acted upon the hint contained in one of the despatches from Mr. Chamberlain, in which he says -
Ministers will be able to place these matters on a satisfactory footing when Parliament assembles.
Had the case been submitted to Parliament at the first opportunity, there is no doubt whatever that it would have been dealt with, and all possibility of any misconception would have been entirely avoided. Some months ago I heard on what I regarded as very good authority that it was proposed to make allowances to the GovernorGeneral. In no spirit of hostility I put a question to the Prime Minister on the subject. I must say that, in common with many other honorable members, I was entirely misled by the Prime Minister’s answer. It seems to me that when replying to that question the Prime Minister had an opportunity to take the House into his confidence. Had he done so all misunderstanding would have been removed, and we as members of this chamber, should not have been placed in the false position in which we find ourselves- at the. present moment.
– I think that the committee is under a debt of thanks to the honorable member for South Australia, Sir Langdon Bonython, for having given us some of the earlier history of this question, which serves to explain some of the extraordinary circumstances which have arisen during the last few weeks. I can remember very clearly the Minister for Home Affairs, when occupying the position of Premier of New South Wales, introducing a Bill into the Legislative Assembly of that State, providing for a contribution towards the expenses of the Governor-General’s establishment. I think the honorable gentleman will, remember that on that occasion he stated that arrangements had been made for the Governor-General to take up his permanent residence in Sydney. That, I believe, was the understanding upon which the Bill was passed. ‘
– That Bill was the result of an understanding arrived at by a conference of the Premiers of all the States.
– I think that the Minister for Home Affairs said at the time that some conference had taken place between the Premiers of the various States. It is obvious that correspondence has taken place upon this question between the Imperial Government and the State Governments, apart altogether from the despatches which have been laid on the table of the House. Of course, ib is impossible for the Government to lay upon the table any correspondence which has not come into their hands ; but there is a history to this question, and I do not think that the House or the country will properly understand it until the whole of the correspondence relating to allowances of the Governor-General - and even that correspondence which preceded the inauguration of the Commonwealth - has been placed upon the table of the House. We shall never properly understand it until we know the whole of the surrounding circumstances of the case. I refer particularly to the correspondence between the States and the Imperial Government. Some evidence that correspondence has taken place between Mr. Chamberlain and the Premiers of the various States is furnished by the Secretary of State for the Colonies’ despatch, in which he states that he has been in communication with the Government of New South Wales. I differ altogether from the honorable, member for Northern Melbourne in the position which he has taken up in opposition to Mr. Chamberlain’s interference in matters of this kind. I am sure that he has allowed his well-known hostility to Mr. Chamberlain as a politician to cloud his judgment in this matter. Mr. Chamberlain is the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and administers the affairs of the Imperial Government so far as they relate to the colonies. In that capacity he certain!)’ has a perfect right to communicate in a respectful way either with the Australian Governments or the GovernorGeneral in regard to a matter which concerns the States and the dignity of the office of the King’s representative in any part of the King’s dominions. It is absolutely within his rights to do so, and so far from regarding any correspondence of the kind in question as dictatorial, I consider that we have a right to receive such despatches in the most respectful manner. If we, in our wisdom as a Parliament, or if the Government representing the people of the States, choose to take upon themselves the responsibility of refusing such a request, we or they are perfectly justified in doing so. I think that the House took the right course in regard to the Governor-General’s Establishment Rill, but that does not affect the right of Mr. Chamberlain, or the Imperial Government, as a whole, to make reasonable and proper representation to the Governments of the States, or to the Government of the Commonwealth, on a matter touching the dignity of the King’s representatives in this land. It is perfectly reasonable for the Secretary of State for the Colonies to endeavour to establish a condition of things which will uphold the dignity of officers who come here to administer the King’s Government ; but we are clearly within our rights in saying what we think is a fair and reasonable contribution to make towards the expenses of the GovernorGeneral. There has been no attempt at dictation on the part of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and in controlling our own affairs we show no disrespect to that Minister or to the Imperial Government. I intended to speak upon the statement of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne that Mr. Chamberlain had no right to be in correspondence with the Premiers or Governments of any States in regard to this matter. I should like to know who Mr. Chamberlain should have communicated with on the question touching the probability of allowances being made to the Governor-General under the circumstances. The proclamation inaugurating the Commonwealth may have been issued at the time, but the Commonwealth itself did not really come into existence until the arrival of the GovernorGeneral. The question of what allowances would appertain to h is office, must have arisen in His Excellency’s mind as well as in that of the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he was consulted in regard to his appointment. It is only reasonable to imagine that the Secretary of State for the Colonies would place himself in communication with the Governments of the various States, in order that he might ascertain whether there was any probability of an allowance in addition to the salary provided by the Constitution being granted to the Governor-General. I take exception to the action of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne in censuring Mr. Chamberlain for conducting correspondence with the Governments of the States when there were no other authorities with whom he might communicate
– And also to the vulgar suggestion made by the honorable and learned member with regard to Melbourne.
– I do not desire to raise the question which has been put forward this afternoon as to whether Sydney or Melbourne is the temporary seat of the Federal Government. It seems to me that the clear intention at the outset was that the Governor-General should take up his residence at Sydney. I do not know what change has taken place, but when Lord Hopetoun proceeded to Sydney to be sworn in and take steps to inaugurate the Commonwealth, it was clearly anticipated that the seat of government was to be there. Of course, the meeting of Parliament, as prescribed by the Constitution, necessitated, as a matter of convenience, that the Governor-General should be resident here while Parliament was in session. But I do not see how it is possible to avoid the up-keep of two Government Houses unless we lay down the hard-and-fast rule that, until the federal capital site is fixed upon, Melbourne shall be regarded as the temporary seat of government, and the GovernorGeneral shall not take up his abode in any other city.
– But the agreement was that, when Parliament was not sitting, he should take up his abode in Sydney. There can be no doubt about that.
– I think that that was the agreement, and, so far as I know, the Government have not taken up any other position in regard to the matter But it is patent that we cannot afford to keep up expensive and extravagant establishments merely to gratify the pride of the people of Melbourne and Sydney, and the sooner some understanding is arrivedat as to the allowance which Parliament should grant for the up-keep of the two Government Houses and the official expenditure of the Governor-General, the sooner we are likely to obtain a satisfactory settlement of the whole difficulty. The Attorney-General utterly failed to adequately explain the long delay which took place in regard to the introduction of the GovernorGeneral’s Establishment Bill. The Ministry months ago possessed sufficient knowledge of the expenses likely to be incurred to be able to frame the necessary measure, but, although for the first five months of the session we were practically merely marking time, and dealingwith measures which were immature, and could not be passed into law, they did not avail themselves of the opportunity to take the matter in hand. I see no reason to condone their delay. Although I think the House acted rightly in radically amending the Bill when it was introduced, I should be sorry to see the principle laid down that the official expenses of the GovernorGeneral should not be paid by Parliament. The people of Australia do not want the Governor-General to meet his official expenditure out of his salary, but they are not prepared to take upon themselves the burden of providing money for’ expensive entertainments which the great majority of the people cannot, and have no desire to, participate in. Attempts have been made during the debate to introduce a number of side issues, and the honorable and learned member for North Melbourne has dragged in the subject of the temporary seat of Government. Attempts have also been made to throw discredit upon the Secretary of State for the Colonies, though, in my opinion, what he has done has been in the reasonable discharge of the duties of his office. We might well accept his despatches as intimations of the views of the Imperial Government, though it is for us to decide how we shall spend our own money. Parliament has done its duty in that respect, and there is no reason to resent Mr. Chamberlain’s despatches as an interference in our domestic affairs.
SirW illiam Lyne. - Mr. Chamberlain has not interfered at all.
– I do not think that he has. We who represent New South Wales constituencies give the Home Secre tary every credit for the manner in which he acted in regard to the federal-capital question when Premier of that State.I hope that as a member of the Federal Government he will be as firm in upholding the rights, and in protecting the interests, of New South Wales.
– I had no intention of taking part in this debate until I heard the speech delivered by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, who took the discussion away upon lines entirely different from those it had previously followed. He gave expression to opinions upon aspects of the subject which I do not think were necessarily involved in the debate, and I should be very sorry if, by my silence, I were to be considered as acquiescing in his views. This debate will undoubtedly excite interest far beyond the domain of the Commonwealth, because it will serve as a guide to the class of men who are likely . in the future to offer themselves for the high position of Governor-General of the Commonwealth, and it will be taken, to some extent, as indicating the attitude which members of the Commonwealth Parliament are likely to adopt with regard to the position of GovernorGeneral, and to the duties appertaining to it. My deliberate opinion is that the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has made an improper use of this debate, because he went out of his way to make an unwarranted attack of an offensive character upon one of the ablest Ministers of the British Crown, and one of Australia’s best friends. The honorable and learned member charged the Secretary of State for the Colonies with interfering in our Australian affairs. A dispassionate view of the circumstances surrounding this question will show, as the honorable member for South Australia has demonstrated, that all the Secretary of State for the Colonies did was in the nature of a fulfilment of his duty as the representative of His Majesty. We must recognise, if it is desired to obtain the very best type of men to fill the position of Governor-General, which is one of the highest in the Empire, we should hold out conditions of office and conditions of life in Australia which will be acceptable to the proudest - I use the word in the highest sense - to the most influential, the most learned and the most accomplished in all constitutional matters. I would ask honorable members to consider the duty of the Secretary of State for the Colonies with regard to the appointment of the Governor-General. If we can place ourselves for a moment in the position of the man who is invited to accept this office, we could not fail to see that one of the first inquiries made of the Colonial Secretary would be as to the conditions under which the Governor-General would be expected to live, and perform the work required of him. Is it not a corollary of the position which Mr. Chamberlain now occupies that he should be able to fully inform any such candidates of the conditions of its occupancy? How could he do this unless he had first made inquiries? Let us consider the circumstances in which the Secretary of State for the Colonies was placed at the time that negotiations were opened up with Lord Hopetoun. We had not then become a Commonwealth, and we had not chosen any seat of Government. The Constitution provided that a definite salary should attach to the position of GovernorGeneral, on the understanding that sooner or later - sooner, if possible - he would be furnished with a home at the seat of Government of the Commonwealth.
– The Constitution stated where the first Parliament would sit.
– No doubt j but it did not state where the Governor-General was to reside. Under these circumstances, the Secretary of State for the’ Colonies was justified in communicating with the Governments of the States. Until the Commonwealth has fixed upon a seat of Government there is no Commonwealth territory in Australia. Notwithstanding that the Governor-General had to come here and take up his residence, and it was perfectly clear that he would have to reside in at least one of the greater capitals, perhaps moving about from one to the other, according to the circumstances of the political sstuation. That view is confirmed by the speech which was delivered in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly by Sir William Lyne, in introducing the Bill providing for a grant of £3,000 towards the maintenance of the Governor-General’s establishment. He then informed the House that he was doing his utmost to fix the residence of the GovernorGeneral in New South Wales. This was very laudable from a New South Wales stand-point, but no doubt there were many public men in Victoria who were equally anxious that the Governor-General should take up his residence in Melbourne. It would have been impossible for the Governor-General to live at any one place permanently year, after year, pending the establishment of the federal capital. This being the case, the Secretary of State for the Colonies could do nothing but communicate with the State Premiers, in order to ascertain what they proposed to do to enable the Governor-General to reside in their respective States. Therefore the charge of interference which the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne makes against the Secretary of
State for the Colonies is altogether unfounded. In the future, when the seat of Government has been fixed and there is a Federal Government House at which alone the Governor-General will generally reside and entertain, there will be no reason for any such communication by the Secretary of State for the Colonies with the State Governments. But for a time at least, the Governor-General is without a home, and has no absolute right to enter any of the State Government Houses without consulting the people under whose control they are. The Colonial Secretary could not ask the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth to permit the Governor-General to occupy Government House in either Melbourne or Sydney, and the only persons he could approach on that subject would be the Premier of Victoria or the Premier of New South Wales. Therefore, all the inquiries made by the Secretary of State fer the Colonies, with regard to Government Houses, and as to the means by which the Governor-General would be enabled to meet the abnormal expenditure he would have to incur until the seat of Federal Government was fixed upon, were perfectly justified. The attack made upon the Colonial Secretary ill became the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne. It was not merely an attack upon constitutional grounds, but upon personal grounds; because the honorable and learned member went out of his way to say that the correspondence contained “ an abundance of vulgarity.” I am quite sure that there are not half-a-dozen members in this Chamber who will indorse such a purely personal attack, as that in regard to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. I venture to say that there is not a word used in Mr. Chamberlain’s communications that is not perfectly justified by the unusual conditions which surrounded the position of the GovernorGeneral.
– Surely not clause 6 of the second despatch.
– The honorable member will admit that it was perfectly natural for the Governor-General, before accepting the position, to ask what he was expected to do, and whether he would be required to live in one, two, or three Government houses.
– This has all occurred after his acceptance of the position.
– I have already pointed out that the Governor-General had no habitation in Australia, and that, therefore, the Colonial Secretary bad to communicate with the Premiers of the States in order to find out the conditions under which the Governor-General could occupy the State Government houses. Returning to the charge of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, let us consider what it means. Mr. Chamberlain refers once or twice to the question of entertaining in the different States. What can bo . more natural than that the Gover-General preparatory to accepting his position, should ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies what he was expected to -do in the way of entertainiug in New South Wales, Victoria, and perhaps in South Australia and other States, upon the salary of £10,000 a year? Seeing that these duties would involve a very large and abnormal expenditure, is it not perfectly reasonable also that the Colonial Secretary, as the medium of communication between the Governor-General as representing His Majesty and the Commonwealth should make inquiries as to whether it was expected that the Governor-General should entertain in all the States or in only one? If it be so, the inquiry complained of on behalf of the Governor-General was indispensable ; it was a perfectly natural question for the Colonial Secretary to ask both the representatives of the different States and the representatives of the Commonwealth.
– There is no evidence that the Governor-General asked any such question.
– The honorable member should know that personal interviews must have taken place between the Colonial Secretary and the intending GovernorGeneral.
– These despatches were written when the Governor-General was on the sea, and when it was impossible for him to have any interview with the Colonial Secretary.
– But the GovernorGeneral, prior to starting for Australia, must have had interviews with the Colonial Secretary, and have asked a number of questions of the kind. Does the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne imagine that either Mr. Chamberlain or the Governor-General was personally anxious about the giving of these entertainments ? I should say rather that the Colonial Secretary understood the proclivities of the Australian people, and was aware that sometimes an unfortunate Governor had to shake hands on a hot summer’s day with 4,000 perspiring people at an afternoon tea. It is not the proposal of the Colonial Secretary that these entertainments should take place, but that he knows the weakness of the Australian people for such social entertainments, and that they will expect them.
Honorable Members. - No.
– I do not say that honorable members do, but it must be admitted that the bulk of the people who attend these functions expect them. Probably 5,000 people are invited, and 4,500 people accept ; but if 100,000 people were invited, they would probably attend. No one supposes for a moment that Mr. Chamberlain is guilty of “vulgarity” in referring to these entertainments, or that the Governor-General is anxious to go through the ordeal which they involve. We may depend, however, that Mr. Chamberlain is as well versed as we are in Australian affairs of the most minute character, and that he was merely making inquiries on behalf of the Governor-General as to what would be expected of him. Was the Governor-General, under these abnormal circumstances, to entertain in Melbourne, in Sydney, and possibly in Adelaide? If Mr. Chamberlain was making these inquiries legitimately on behalf of the Governor-General, who was quite entitled to understand his position, why should he be attacked by the honorable and learned member foi- Northern Melbourne as having introduced “abundance of vulgarity “ into his despatch, and as being guilty of ignorance of Australian conditions ? The honorable and learned member has gone out of his way in this matter, and it is not difficult for those who know his views on certain questions to -account for what he said. It is perfectly clear that the honorable and learned member was merely letting off his spleen, with regard to other questions, on the gentleman who occupies this high position, and I for one protest against his utterances as an expression of opinion on the part of members of this House.
– And the honorable and learned member for Parkes is letting off his spleen on the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne.
– I know that the honorable member for Southern Melbourne entertains views similar to those held by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, but this is a most inopportune time to attempt by opinions of that sort to influence the House, the question under discussion being one of an entirely different nature. The question now is, whether the Government have behaved in a judicious and proper manner in the negotiations with the Governor-General, or whether they are blameable for the crisis which has taken place. On the general question, I will admit that it is a question of “ spilt milk.” I understand, from all we have heard, that it is quite impossible that what has happened can be altered. As a looker on, I add my testimony to the general feeling throughout Australia that the whole difficulty could have been averted by a little more diplomatic ability on the part of the Government. The whole crisis is the result of a piece of clumsy administration. The Prime Minister, having these documents in his possesssion as far back as February, 1901, should have earlier brought’ the matter forward. I do not for a moment say that the House would have agreed to a measure to give additional money as a permanent payment to future Governors-General, and I myself should have hesitated to do so. We have no power to atempt to break through a definite provision which is laid down in the Constitution ; but I believe that if this question had come before this House, and honorable members had had a full knowledge of all this correspondence, the debate would probably have been adjourned, and some arrangement made acceptable to the Governor-General, until the Commonwealth had settled on some seat of Government, and thus removed the necessity for extra expenditure. But the whole matter was put off. Everybody who knows the Prime Minister knows that amongst the little weaknesses of his character is that of procrastination. I have no doubt that it was intended by him long ago to introduce the measure to the House, and put us in possession of all the information he had at his command ; but the question was postponed, and just on the eve of the Prime Minister’s departure for England, the measure was introduced in a rapid and spasmodic manner. No information was given to the House, and honorable members were practically led to believe that it was a sudden proposal to do something absolutely contrary to the Constitution. I say candidly that in my present state of mind, even with all the information before me,I should hesitate on constitutional grounds to indorse a measure which fixed the GovernorGeneral’s salary permanently at a larger sum than is provided in the Constitution. But I am sure that with a little more expedition and diplomacy the Prime Minister could have arranged matters so as to have averted what I have no hesitation in calling a catastrophe. It is not merely the loss of so high an official as Lord Hopetoun. The bald fact has gone forth to the world, without reservation or qualification, that Australia has refused to meet the abnormal expenses of her GovernorGeneral in the earliest stages of her history.
– That is not true.
– It is not a question of truth or untruth. The world moves so rapidly that all the details of an affair of this sort do not reach the ears which first learn the bald fact. If anybody could question the people of England, we should be told - “ All we know is that Australia has refused to compensate the GovernorGeneral for the extra expenditure he incurred in an abnormal year of hisoffice.” That is a catastrophe, because, by-and-by, when we find men of the same high class as Lord Hopetoun hesitating to accept the position, we shall realize more than at present what we have suffered, not from the refusal of the House to pass the Bill - because it was improper to submit a Bill to permanently increase the salary - but from the clumsy administration of theGovernment in not introducing a measure at an earlier stage and treating it as a temporary matter. Such a Bill would have satisfied the Governor-General and secured to us the continued services of a highly accomplished man and statesman.
– Like the honorable and learned member for Parkes, I have no sympathy with any personal attack which has been made on the Secretary of State for the Colonies. At the same time we have a perfect right to criticise the terms of the despatches on the subject now before us. Too much prominence, however, has been given by the honorable and learned member for Parkes to the speech delivered by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, and that rather tends to divert attention from the main issue. The question is whether the acting leader of the Opposition has sustained his position, namely, that the Ministry have been guilty of a breach of faith with the Governor-General, and that that breach of faith has led to the resignation of His Excellency. I have listened to the debate very carefully, and I feel constrained to arrive at the conclusion that there is no ground whatever for either of these allegations. I do not see what could have been expected from the Ministry more than they have done. It has been suggested that they ought to have made this Bill a Ministerial question, and staked their Ministerial existence on it. But that would have been much worse than a crime ; it would have been a blunder of a most serious character to assume such an attitude. I feel sure that no representative of the Crown could expect that a responsible Ministry would take such an obligation. All that is undertaken by the Prime Minister’s minute of the 21st February, 1901, is that the Ministry would submit a measure to Parliament which in their view would meet the situation to which Mr. Chamberlain’s despatch refers. The Government were under no obligation to submit this Bill to Parliament at once, to the supersession of every other matter of public business. Surely responsible Ministers could select a suitable occasion, and they were under no necessity to submit the Bill immediately Parliament met. I have no reason to doubt that, ifthe Bill had been submitted then, it would have met the same fate that it met eventually ; and had that occurred it would have been a still greater catastrophe. The question of the establishment of the Governor-General ought not to have been forced on Ministers as a matter of federal policy. As ft matter of courtesy they listened to the representations of Mr. Chamberlain conveyed to them through the Governor-General, and they undertook to submit proposals to Parliament. The only mistake I can see that Ministers made was in undertaking to submit to Parliament the suggestions of the Secretary of State.
– Remember the New South Wales Act.
– I know about that Act, which does not interfere with what I am now submitting, namely, that although as a matter of courtesy it would be difficult to refuse, still I do not think that the
Ministry ought to have absolutely undertaken the responsibility of submitting Mr. Chamberlain’s proposals to Parliament. “What do these proposals embody? So far as the up-keep is concerned, there is no doubt provision would have been made. What the despatch proposes in the first place, is that provision shall be made for the maintenance of the personal staff, as well as for the expenses of entertainment. These were two definite proposals by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in regard to the acceptance of which by the Federal Parliament the Government might well have had some apprehensions.
– The New South Wales Parliament had voted £3,300 for those purposes.
– The New South Wales Parliament might have gone on voting money until Doomsday. They were under no obligation to do so, and certainly no vote which they passed can force the hands of the Federal Parliament. I venture to say that it would be very difficult indeed to induce any Federal Parliament to make provision, not only for the maintenance of the Governor-General’s staff, consisting of a private and military secretary, an aide-de-camp, and so forth, but for the expenses of entertainment. This appears to be one of the first occasions in the history of the negotiations between the Secretary of State for the Colonies and colonial Governments in which it has been urged that provision should be made for entertainment. It seems somewhat strange that the Secretary of State for the Colonies should bother himself about the discussion of such a question. As intended by the Constitution, the position of the Governor-General of Australia should be considered to be that of an exalted Imperial officer presiding over the political administration and the destinies of Australia as the representative of the King. It ought not to be considered for a moment that he is merely the President of an entertaining establishment. It is deeply to be regretted that any idea should he entertained either by the Secretary of, State for the Colonies, or by any person in high office that the Governor-General in Australia is expected to extend enormous entertainments or hospitalities. It would be a good thing for Australia and for society generally if the idea of such obligations on the part of the representative of the Crown were knocked on the head once and for all. The craving for hospitality cannot fail to be regarded as one of the curses of society, and I do not see why the King’s representative in Australia, occupying a position unique, exalted, and certainly important in the highest degree, should be bothered and pestered about entertainments and hospitalities. It is regrettable that this despatch, although quite within the rights of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, should have been devoted so largely to a discussion of the question of entertainment.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that the Secretary of State for the Colonies took that action of his own motion ?
– I do not know, but it is to be regretted that the early despatches between the Colonial Office and the Australian Commonwealth should be burdened with the question of entertainments and hospitalities to such an extent. Such a subject can hardly be regarded as a matter of grave Ministerial responsibility. As a matter of courtesy, probably, Ministers went out of their way to give the promise to which reference has been made, but they were under no obligation to undertake to submit the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill to Parliament The Constitution makes provision for the salary of . the GovernorGeneral ; and although it does not provide for a Government House, it was well understood from the first that a Government House would be provided and maintained at the expense of the Commonwealth.
– The Victorian Government House had. been placed at the disposal of the Crown before the date of those despatches.
– And so had the Government House at Sydney.
– Yes : there was an abundance of accommodation so far, as Government House requirements were concerned. It was accepted as an understood thing that the Governor-General would not be put to any expense in maintaining Government Houses. Beyond that fact, the representative of the Crown in coming to Australia was not justified in entertaining any expectation that anything in the shape of special allowances would be added to the salary provided by the Constitution. Allowances could be utilized by Ministers as a method of evading the constitutional provision that the salary of the Governor-General sholl not be diminished, altered, or increased during the continuance of the GovernorGeneral’s term of office. Although I think that Ministers made a mistake in giving the promise recorded in the Prime Minister’s minute, I believe that they did all that they possibly could, as reasonable and honorable’ men, to give effect to that promise. The mere lapse of time which took place in the introduction of the Bill should not be urged against them as evidence of breach, of faith. I certainly think that the acting leader of the Opposition was not justified in making the serious statement that that alleged breach of compact was the cause of the Governor-General’s resignation, and that His Excellency was disgusted with the Ministry. Such a statement is quite unwarranted, and should not have been persisted in. Any doubt on the subject has been removed by the- assurance of the Attorney-General, lt is time to enter a protest against the impression which has gone abroad that the action of this Parliament in regard to the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill was founded upon parsimonious considerations. Such a suggestion ought to be resented. The action of the House of Representatives in rejecting the Bill as introduced by the Government was not founded upon any desire to treat the Governor-General in an illiberal manner ; our desire was that he should be treated in a manner consistent with the duties of his office. It has been mentioned that in addition to the salary of £10,000 provided for him under the Constitution, the Governor.General of Canada receives allowances to the extent of about £8,000 per annum. I wish to point out that the Federal Government of Australia has not only made provision for a Government House, but that in the Estimates now before us provision has been made for the upkeep of two Government Houses on a very large and liberal scale. I wish to draw attention to the figures which appear in the Budget papers presented to the House by the Treasurer. They show that the Federal Government has not been illiberal in dealing with the Governor-General’s establishment. For instance, the Estimates contain provision for a Government House in New South “Wales as follows : -
Repairs and maintenance to Government Houses, New South Wales, ±’2,500; furniture and fittings, ,-6550 ; telephones, ±’88 ; electric light, £500 ; total, £3,038.
36 7. 2
The following provision is made on the Estimates for the Victorian Government House : -
Repairs and maintenance, £2,000; furniture and fittings, ±”900 ; light, £942 ; telephone, £50 ; total, £3,892.
The grand total for the two Government Houses, including provision for lighting and telephones is £7,530. In addition to that amount, provision is also made on the Estimates for £2,000 in respect of official printing, stationery, telegrams, and other etceteras in connexion with the Governor-General’s office. That gives a total of nearly £10,000 for the maintenance of the GovernorGeneral’s establishments, and incidental expenses, in addition to the salary of £10,000 per annum, bringing the total expenses of the Governor-General, for which provision is proposed to be made, to nearly £20,000 a year. In addition to that, it was sought to provide a further sum of £S,000 per annum, making altogether an expenditure of £28,000 upon the GovernorGeneral’s establishment. Whilst I, in common with other honorable members, have the most profound respect for thepresent occupant of the office, I think that an expenditure such as that would be too monstrous to entertain for a moment. Whilst desiring to maintain the dignity of the office, we must endeavour to keep the expenditure within reasonable and moderate limits, and certainly we are bound to give effect to the general feeling that Government House should not be converted into a huge hospitality establishment. I think that on the whole the provision made by the Constitution and on the Estimates is ample, and that the Federal Government have not been guilty of any breach of faith. They have done all they possibly can in the matter. They were under no obligation to make this a Ministerial question ; their only undertaking was to place the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill before the House, leaving honorable members to exercise their judgment in reference to it. In regard to Mr. Barton’s minute . of the 21st February, 1901, I think that Parliament will feel bound to honour all the accounts in respect of expenses incurred by the Governor-General, in connexion with the maintenance of his establishment, while under the impression that the vote in question would be carried. In that way the Governor-General will not lose a single penny on account of any outlay so incurred. It is purely in the exercise of his own discretion and judgment that he has decided to relinquish his position. If the Bill had been introduced twelve months ago and had met with a fate similar to that which it suffered a few weeks ago, the Governor-General, if in the same mind then as he is now, would have relinquished his position at once. The delay which took place in the introduction of the Bill has given us the advantage of his continuance in an office which he has graced and honoured not only as a representative of the King in Australia, but as one of the most popular Governors who has ever held office in this country.
Mr JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).Listening to the debate which has taken place to-night and particularly to the speech made by the Attorney-General, one is led to wonder what is the reason for all the trouble that has taken place. Indeed one always feels like that after listening to any statement made in the House by the AttorneyGeneral. No one could have made a statement more favourable to the Government than that made by him to-day. He did his best to show that the Government had acted in a most candid way throughout ; and he said that the Governor-General had requested him to assure the House that it was not in consequence of anything that had taken place here that he proposed to relinquish his office. Yet we have the broad fact before us that the Governor-General is about to leave Australia j that he declares that he is disappointed with what has taken place here, and on that account declines to be Governor-General any longer. That is the ugly fact which the Attorney-General’s explanation is unable to sweep away. All that has been said to-night must be considered with due regard to these facts. In the face of them it is idle for the honorable and learned gentleman to say that the Governor-General absolves the Government entirely in regard to anything which has taken place, and that he is resigning without reason. What is the reason for his resignation? The Attorney-General has told us that the Governor-General asked to be recalled because we will not find him sufficient money to carry out his ideas as to his social obligations. But have not Ministers known the temper of the House for the last sixteen months ? Why, then, did they let the Governor-General go on spending in lavish fashion 1 But the Attorney-General further told us that he believes that the provisions of the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill were reasonable and economical in the extreme. Yet the Government declined to take an atom of responsibility in regard to that measure. Let us see what was the reception of Mr. Chamberlain’s correspondence by the Prime Minister. The Secretary of State for the Colonies would not have troubled himself about the entertaining of the people of Australia, or the upkeep of Government Houses here, if some one had not brought the matter under his attention, and what more natural than that Lord Hopetoun should have discussed it with him, after or in connexion with his appointment. At any rate, it must have been in consequence of representations made to him that Mr. Chamberlain wrote the despatches which have been laid before the House. He points out that much larger sums are allowed for the establishments of the Lord-Lieut, of Ireland, the Viceroy of India, and the Governor-General of Canada than it was proposed to allow our Governor-General. His despatches were forwarded by Lord Hopetoun to the Prime Minister, and upon receiving them the Prime Minister gave what I say was a direct undertaking that the view of the situation put by Mr. Chamberlain would be met. The Prime Minister, in acknowledging the receipt of a copy of Mr. Chamberlain’s despatch of 11th January -
On the subject of making suitable provision for the expenses of your Excellency’s establishment and for the charges of entertainment. wrote -
To intimate that the Ministers for the Commonwealth have agreed to submit a measure to the Parliament, which, in his view, will meet the situation to which Mr. Secretary Chamberlain’s despatch refers.
If that was not an honorable compact with His Excellency, I do not know what could be so regarded. Did the Government consider that that compact was honorably fulfilled by allowing the Bill to be taken hold of by private members and altered as they chose ? It is not to the point now to consider whether the amount asked for was or was not in our opinion a reasonable one ; the Ministry allowed the Governor-General to continue to spend lavishly for sixteen months, upon the faith of the statement of the Prime Minister that the situation to which Mr. Chamberlain referred would be met, without telling him that there might be a hitch in connexion with the passing of the necessary Bill, We may be sure that if hehad received any intimation of that kind, Lord Hopetoun would have taken prompt steps to, bring the matter to an issue. But in the meantime it was never- even whispered to the House that any bargain had been made with his Excellency ; all we knew was that a Bill would probably be introduced to cover extraordinary expenditure in connexion with the forthcoming Coronation. Having made a bargain with His Excellency, it was the first duty of the Ministry to consult Parliament on the matter, and I fail to “see that His Excellency could have taken any other course than he did when he learned the fate of the measure, and the way in which it had been treated by Ministers. Anything more feeble than its defence by Ministers could not be conceived. At the first breath of opposition they allowed their supporters to mould it just as they chose. As the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne got them out of an awkward predicament on that occasion, it was only natural that he should be expected to come to the rescue this afternoon, and he tried to fasten the blame upon some one else. He attacked Mr. Chamberlain for what he called the vulgarity of his proposals. I do not see any vulgarity in them, and I protest against the provincial complexion which the honorable and learned member and others have put upon the matter generally. They have sought to show that the whole trouble has arisen because of something which the Home Secretary did when Premier of New South Wales, and I think that that honorable gentleman might have repudiated the statements which have been made about him. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne suggests that, because the Parliament of Victoria would not vote its share of the cost of the upkeep of the Sydney establishment, the GovernorGeneral was instructed not to entertain in Victoria, but that is an unworthy suggestion to make. Mr. Chamberlain’s instructions have no reference to the up-keep of either of the Government Houses, and relate simply to the necessity for confining expenditure to official entertainments. Honorable members on all sides have said all along that the GovernorGeneral should not entertain except in a strictly official manner. But the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne failed to see any vulgarity in the instruction in regard to Sydney in ‘a previous despatch.
– One was as much in bad taste as the other. I referred to them both when I spoke.
-Well. the honorable member for Northern Melbourne could see only what he thought to be a reflection upon Victoria. There can be only one official residence of the Governor-General. It is idle to suppose that he could go through the States in Oriental fashion, entertaining right and left. We know that he could not do so, and we do not wish it. Personally I regard the salary as adequate in every way. But, according to the Attorney-General, he takes the view that expenditure of that kind is absolutely necessary in the position, and is leaving the Commonwealth because we will not provide him with a sufficient sum of money for the purpose. I do not hesitate to say that that is a mistaken view of the GovernorGeneral’s position. My impression is that His Excellency is disgusted with the way in which he has been treated, and if he is not, he must be an extremely generous man. We have the broad fact before us that the Prime Minister told His Excellency that he would submit a Bill to Parliament to meet the situation as it was put to him by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and that eighteen months after giving this undertaking, he flung a Bill to the House and allowed the House to do what it liked with it. He led the GovernorGeneral to spend £49,000, and, as His Excellency himself expressed it, to “ strain his own private resources beyond justification,” and then failed him at the last moment. This was a strange view to take of an honorable compact between honorable men. Is it to be imagined that the Governor-General would have gone on spending his money upon a lavish scale, if he had not believed that the Bill providing for his extra allowances would have been passed by Parliament ? Ministers have said that they knew all the time that the Bill would not be passed. They have told us that if the Bill had been introduced in the first instance its fate would have been the same. Why did they not tell that to the Governor-General ? They did not say one word about this to His Excellency, nor did they inform the House of the nature of the obligations into which they had entered. Yet we are told by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo that the Government have done nothing wrong, and that the relations between the GovernorGeneral and his Ministers were quite satisfactory, because His Excellency has stated that he is not going away because of anything that his advisers have done. The answer to this statement is to be found in the fact that nothing else could be expected from a man of the well-known generosity and tact of His Excellency. Is it not the most natural thing in the world for him to say, as he is leaving, “There need be no more bother than necessary about this matter ; you can say anything you like to get yourself out of the box you are in” ? I should like to know all that has passed between, the Governor-General and his Ministers. It would prove very interesting reading. There is no use to disguise the fact that the Governor-General is going away’ disappointed with the treatment he has received. He says so in his despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Who is responsible for this disappointment ? Are we as a Parliament to take the blame? Or are the Government to take their share of it, seeing that the disappointment has arisen in consequence of a failure on their part to adhere to a straightout compact? Honorable members have spoken about the necessity for keeping up two or three Government Houses, but that matter was discussed long before federation took place. There was a meeting of the Premiers held to consider this very matter. It was felt that if there were to be two or three large establishments, the States should assist in their maintenance.That was the view taken by the Premiers at the conference held in 1900.
– That conference, of which I was a member, dealt with the establishments of the State Governors.
– Who introduced the Bill providing for the Governor-General’s allowance in the Victorian Assembly 1
– Sir George Turner.
– Then there must have been another conference, and there must have been some arrangement between the Premiers under which Bills were presented to the Parliaments of New South Wales and Victoria respectively.
– There was no such arrangement.
– The ‘arrangement was that the salaries of the State Governors should be reduced, and that no large amount of entertainment should be expected from them.
– Then what was the understanding in accordance with which Sir George Turner submitted to the Victorian Parliament the Bill relating to the Governor-General’s salary ?
– None whatever.
– Why was it submitted ? Had the right honorable gentleman a reason for submitting it ? I apprehend that there must have been some arrangement between him and the Premier of New South Wales.
– I tell the honorable member that there was no arrangement whatever.
– And no correspondence ?
– And no correspondence.
– Then was there no reason for it?
– I did not say that.
– Whatever the reason was for submitting the Bill, the right honorable gentleman took good care to present it in such a way as to ensure its rejection. The measure was submitted in New South Wales as a Bill to provide for the up-keep of the Governor-General’s establishment, but the right honorable, gentleman submitted his measure as a Bill to provide for the increase of the GovernorGeneral’s salary to £20,000. The New South Wales Bill was entitled “ An Act to authorise certain annual payments to be made towards the maintenance of the establishment of the Governor-General.”
– Read the preamble. That says : - “Whereas it is thought desirable that this country should contribute to raise the annual amount to be received by the Governor-General to twenty thousand pounds.”
– I read the title of the Bill.
– Let the honorable member read fairly, if he can.
– The title of the Bill should surely express its intention. The right honorable gentleman had no intention that the Bill should be passed. The members of the Victorian Legislature saw no necessity for keeping up any establishment beyond that to be maintained a.t Government House in Melbourne ; but that does not end the matter. If there is to be only one Governor-General’s establishment, Sydney must be allowed to have a voice in deciding where that establishment is to be.
– Why not Brisbane, or Perth, or Adelaide ? Give them all a show !
– For the simple reason that there is only one seat of government, and that seat of government is to be fixed in New South Wales. There is no doubt that the Governor-General has been tricked and driven away by the shabby treatment he has received at the hands’ of ‘the Prime Minister. He has been treated by the Prime Minister in a manner very different from that in which he has acted towards his advisers. He has stood by them all through, and he has brought down upon himself the criticism of this House in consequence. The Governor-General has a very different idea regarding his loyalty to the Prime Minister from that which distinguishes the attitude of the Prime Minister towards him.
– The right honorable gentleman is a splendid authority on bosh.
– Yes, because I have splendid opportunities of studying the exhibitions given by the honorable member, who is now talking doubly-distilled bosh
– The interjection made by the Minister for Trade and Customs reminds me of something else. We were told by one honorable member that one of the Prime Minister’s fatal weaknesses is procrastination. Would not that statement also apply to the Minister for Trade and Customs? If the right honorable gentleman confined himself to the administration of his own department he would do much better.
– If the honorable member never spoke until he had properly made up his mind, he would never be heard.
– The right honorable gentleman never had a mind to make up, so far as the administration of his department is concerned. The right honorable gentleman has been a solid failure as an administrator of the Customs department The other members of the Government are equally responsible with the Prime Minister for this fiasco, which cannot entirely be attributed to the feebleness of character, the vacillation, or the procrastination of that right honorable gentleman. All information was kept back until the Prime Minister was bolting to London. Why did the Minister for Trade and Customs not take care that the Governor-General was told that the bill would not be footed by a complaisant House? The GovernorGeneral has a perfect right to take the course he has taken after Iris treatment by responsible Ministers, who have besmirched: the fair fame of Australia in the eyes of the whole world. Now that the question has been settled by Parliament they quietly go to the Governor-General and tell him what they think Parliament will agree to. But why did .they not do that before? Had I been in the position of Governor-General, and they had come to me expressing the hope that I would not leave the country, although certain provision was all the House was prepared to make, I should have given them a short and forcible answer, such as I dare say, if the truth were known, they did receive from His Excellency. The Ministry have failed to stand by an honorable compact, merely because to do so might involve loss of office ; and such a state of affairs I have never known in my experience of parliamentary life.
-The Government have been charged with acting in a perfidious way towards the GovernorGeneral, but I venture to say that that charge will not find any support or sympathy outside this House. The honorable and learned member for Parkes went out of his way in order to say that the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne was venting his spleen on the Colonial Secretary ; but, if so, the honorable and learned member for Parkes may be charged with taking a similar advantage of this debate in regard to the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne. Nothing could be further from the mind of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne than to drag into this discussion the difference between his opinions and the policy of Mr. Chamberlain. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne was simply dealing with the facts before us, and the despatch reveals the fact that Mr. Chamberlain’s idea of government is gastronomies. The one thing which Mr. Chamberlain seems to believe is that the head of the Australian Commonwealth is to be the chief entertainer in the Commonwealth. That is to degrade the office of Governor-General, which ought to be far removed from the refined vulgarities of our Australian social life. It is not fair, especially in the absence of an honorable member, to place a construction on his words which those words will not sustain, or to charge him with reflecting on the Colonial Secretary, when the desire is merely to take exception to the right honorable gentleman’s low idea of the position of an Australian Governor-General. The honorable member for Parramatta charged the Government with having betrayed Lord Hopetoun into the belief that he could go on spending ad Kb., and that they would meet all demands, while, at the same time, they knew that the Rill they intended to introduce was not likely to pass. But that charge only means that the Government are not prophets. I have no doubt the Prime Minister said he would do what he could to get the House to pass the Bill to reimburse the Governor-General for the expenses incurred at the inauguration of the Commonwealth, but neither a Minister nor any one else can say whether a Bill will pass. ‘ Lord Hopetoun is too sane a man to believe that the mere promise of a Minister to do what he can is sufficient to justify the spending of more than the salary or the position of Governor-General will allow. And we have not heard that Lord Hopetoun lias spent more than is justified by the circumstances. The House is willing almost to a man to reimburse Lord Hopetoun for his magnificent hospitality to the Duke and Duchess of York ; I dare say there would be hardly a dissentient voice to Such a proposal.
– Here is one, and I dare say there would be more.
– I believe that a wrong method was adopted by the Government, but to say that Lord Hopetoun’s retirement was entirely due to that circumstance is altogether to misrepresent the position.
– Lord Hopetoun says so in his message to Mr. Chamberlain.
– Lord Hopetoun says in that .message that there is a misunderstanding as to what the duties of the position are, and that if he is expected to entertain in lavish style he cannot do it. But the Government, and honorable members during this debate, have shown Lord
Hopetoun that lavish entertaining is not expected; that the £10,000 is regarded as salary pure and simple, and that he is not expected to cater for the “wealthy lower orders.” There has been no perfidy on the part of the Government so far as concerns their representations to Lord Hopetoun. All they could do was to express a wish that the House would vote a certain sum in accordance with Lord Hopetoun’s idea of what a Governor-General’s allowances should be. The Government had no opportunity of knowing that the measure would not pass.
– They said they knew.
– They could not know. A. still more serious charge is that insinuated by the honorable member for ‘ Parramatta, namely, that the correspondence was not initiated by the Colonial Secretary, but was written on suggestions from the Government or from some other quarter. If Mr. Chamberlain went out of his way to endeavour to influence this House that would be quite bad enough ; but to suggest for a moment that any member of the Govern ment tried to influence Mr. Chamberlain in order to get him to interfere is, to say the least, “playing it very low down.” It is quite likely that the petty jealousies between Melbourne and Sydney had something to do with the matter.
– - The honorable member for South Australia, Sir Langdon Bonython, told us that the suggestion emanated from Sir William Lyne, who was then Premier of New South Wales.
– I certainly do not think that. It has been said that Lord Hopetoun was expected to maintain two homes and two social centres of Government because he at present has no fixed place of abode; but if there is one provision more clear than another in the Constitution it is that New South Wales is to possess the capital eventually, and that the temporary capital and seat of Government is Melbourne, the Governor’s residence being inseparable from the seat of Government. We in Victoria should be perfectly willing at any time to change places with the people of New, South Wales in this connexion. The people of Victoria have been accused of trying to break the compact in regard to the capital, but there is nothing to justify such an inference. If faith is to be kept with the Constitution and the permanent capital selected at the earliest possible moment, then the temporary seat of Government must remain in Melbourne, and it is very unfair to attempt to show, on side issues, that the “Victorian people are acting otherwise than in a perfectly honorable manner. The Government had a most delicate task to perform in connexion with the GovernorGeneral.
– It is always a very delicate task to deal with a Governor, but it never is a delicate task to deal with the poor.
– That is one of the things which arise from our social errors in regard to the relative importance of rich and poor. But the fact remains that with the respect and esteem felt for Lord Hopetoun on the one hand, and the knowledge that the proposals to be submitted would not be acceptable to the democracy of Australia on the other, the Government were placed in a delicate position. I can hardly conceive members of the Opposition acting with any more tact and refinement and judgment than was shown by the Government; indeed, the present attack on the Government in which an attempt is made to make political capital by dragging in the name of the GovernorGeneral is in the worst possible taste. Probably the Opposition go upon the principle that any stick is good enough with which to thrash a dog. But the indictment which the Opposition have brought against the Government contains no relevant matter to sustain the charge that they have not kept faith with the Governor-General and with the people. Certainly the Government did their very best. I voted against the Bill as introduced by the Government.
– They say that it was a right proposal. The Attorney-General emphasized that point to-night.
– I understood the AttorneyGeneral to say that, being under the impression that Australia desired that entertainments at Government House should be continued, it was certainly right for them to seek to make provision for them. The sooner it is realized that we do not expect the Governor-General to entertain lavishly, and that the salary which we give him is not to enable him to cater to the debased tastes of certain classes which live for Government House hospitality, the better it will be. If the Government come out of all their difficulties with as clean a sheet as they have done in this matter, they will have a very clean record when they end their days.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. I find that I misrepresented the Bill which was introduced, in the Victorian Legislature to increase the provision made for the Governor-General’s establishment, and I hasten at once to correct my statement and to apologize to the Treasurer. The statement made by the honorable member for South Australia, Sir Langdon Bonython, was that a report of the right honorable, gentleman’s remarks at the time showed that the Bill was described as one to authorize certain annual payments towards the increase of the Governor-General’s salary from £10,000 to £20,000. Had the honorable member read the rest of the quotation it would have modified that statement to some extent, but we cannot blame him for that omission. The use of the word “described,” led me to believe that the description given was the title of the Bill as introduced. I find that its title was the same as that introduced in the -Legislature of New South Wales, and I apologize to the Treasurer for any unintentional misrepresentation.
– The honorable member for Southern Melbourne states that a base attempt is being made to find fault with the Ministry, and that there is no ground whatever for the criticism that has taken place upon their action in regard to the Governor- General’s Establishment Bill. I suppose that the honorable member would describe in similar terms any criticism of the Ministry coming from the Opposition side of the House, although I have heard him, as well as other honorable members sitting behind the Government, criticizing freely actions taken by the Ministry in other directions. An effort has been made by the honorable member, as well as by certain other honorable members, representing Victoria, to cast the whole of the blame for this difficulty upon New South Wales. It has been said that New South Wales, in desiring the Governor-General’s presence in Sydney for a certain part’ of the year, sought what was wholly unreasonable. The honorable member for Southern Melbourne states that the Constitution provides that the seat of government, and of the Parliament, shall be in Melbourne for a certain period. The Constitution provides something quite different, lt sets forth that the seat of government shall be in ‘New South Wales, but that the Parliament shall sit in Melbourne until it meets at the permanent seat of government. In view of the fact that New South Wales entered the Federation with a great deal of reluctance, that many of her people felt that in doing so they were risking the sacrifice of the fiscal system for which they had fought for years, and that they would have to submit to much greater taxation than that which they had borne before, it is not altogether a matter for surprise that that State should have desired some recognition of her seniority. Honorable members may say what they will, but New South Wales is the senior State, both in years and in population. Whilst I believe that a large majority , of honorable members will not say that she did anything improper in expressing a desire for that recognition, it must also be admitted that she was perfectly willing to pay the cost. She did not desire that one penny of expenditure in connexion with the visits of the Governor-General to Sydney should’ be incurred by the Commonwealth. She was willing to supply the money to the Federal Government for the use of the GovernorGeneral, i If the Ministry have seen fit to advise the refusal of that grant, it is they, and not the people of New South Wales who must take the responsibility. If the Governor-General is to visit the other States, and the people of any of these States are willing to pay the cost of the visits, I fail to see why the Federal Government should refuse these contributions as long as they themselves are the conduit through which the contributions pass to the GovernorGeneral.
– A Governor-General “ for sale or hire “ to the States.
– Under those circumstances I suppose the right honorable gentleman considers that he is for sale or hire to the Commonwealth, because the people of the Commonwealth generally have contributed to the cost of his presence here. It is an unfortunate circumstance that Lord Hopetoun has seen fit to resign. We recognise that as the Governor of Victoria he earned the respect, and, what is more, the confidence of that State ; we know that ‘that confidence extended to people beyond the limits of Victoria, and that the authorities in the mother land repose in him the same high confidence. He came here with an enthusiastic desire apparently to be the GovernorGeneral oE the Commonwealth for the full term of his office, and with, that enthusiastic desire to do all that he could in its interests which is one of the qualities that we most admire in him. That the GovernorGeneral, with all his enthusiasm, should find it necessary to resign, must appear to many people as a reflection upon the Commonwealth, the Parliament, or the Ministry. Is there any justification for such a reflection? So far as the Commonwealth is concerned there is not. The Commonwealth has not failed to fulfil ‘anything which it undertook. When the GovernorGeneral started for Australia, the undertaking was simply the payment of a salary of £10,000 per annum, and, if he was aware of it, there was also a suggestion by the Secretary of State for the Colonies that something more than what had hitherto been the usual allowances should be made in addition -to that salary. That, however, was only a suggestion, and its acceptance could not be guaranteed. To my mind the presumption is that the Governor-General came here risking the acceptance or nonacceptance of that suggestion, and that even if these allowances had not been granted, he would have remained but for some circumstance which we have not yet been able to discover. Whilst there can be no reflection upon the Commonwealth, there certainly cannot be any reflection upon the Parliament. This House acted perfectly freely. Without any bond or bargain, it decided upon what it thought to be for the best interests of Australia. But there is a justifiable reflection upon the Ministry in regard to the way in which they have managed the whole business. I am not going to dwell upon the point, because the Government have already been freely criticised, but the fact that they are to blame can be clearly shown. In Mr. Chamberlain’s first despatch of 30th November, 1900, he writes -
It is, therefore, impossible to entertain the question of a change in salary proper during your term -
That is, owing to the Constitution -
But it will be necessary for the Parliament to consider at an early date what provision shall be made for the Governor-General’s establishment and for the expenses of entertainment.
The Secretary of State for the Colonies pointed out at the time that it would be necessary for the Parliament at an early date to deal with this question. That was a very proper appreciation of the circumstances. Was the Governor-General to enter upon the outlay of the Royal visit and the full expenditure of his office without knowing what his allowance would be ? The .Prime Minister replied, practically accepting the representations of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. He said -
Mr. Barton begs to intimate that the Ministers for the Commonwealth have agreed to submit a measure to the Parliament . which, in his view, will meet the situation to which Mr. Secretary Chamberlain’s despatch refers.
One of the points of the situation was stated very properly by Mr. Chamberlain, namely, that the measure should be introduced at an early date. I agree with the honorable and learned member for Bendigo that the Ministry acted foolishly in agreeing to bring the Bill before Parliament. They should have known that there were very grave possibilities that it would not be accepted. It would have been much better if they had said that the matter would receive consideration, with a view to meet the situation .to which Mr. Chamberlain’s despatch refers. That would have been quite sufficient, and would not have committed the Ministry to a course which must necessarily have been painful to the Governor-General. If the Ministry had not promised to bring the matter before Parliament, they would not have felt bound todo so until they could - judge what the result would be, and it is possible that if the Governor-General had been told that there was no chance of Parliament passing the measure, he might have accepted the situation, as he seemed prepared to accept it when he left Great Britain, and might not have thought it necessary to resign. But, as the Attorney-General has stated, one reason for refusing now to remain is that, if he did stay, it would be thought that he had made an attempt to get an allowance which was not absolutely necessary, and, having failed, was quite satisfied to continue on under the old terms. That situation would not have arisen if the opinion of Parliament had been tested beforehand, and it had been discovered if the measure had any chance of passing. I think, too, that after the House had dealt with the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill, the Ministry made a mistake in assuming that honorable members would not agree to the payment by the Commonwealth of any of the items mentioned by the Prime Minister as covered by the proposed vote of £8,000. No doubt each member had his own opinion upon- the subject, but no general opinion to that effect was expressed by the House. Certain allowances have been paid all along. The Government provide for the up-keep of the two Government Houses, the care of the grounds, the lighting, and the maintenance and repair of furniture. What the House was determined upon was that there should be no further allowance to cover expenses of entertainment; but it was,- doubtless, the opinion of honorable gentlemen that, the Bill having been rejected, the original arrangements as to allowances would be reverted to, and that the expense of lighting would also be met by the Commonwealth. But, because the expense of lighting was one of the things mentioned by the Prime
Minister, the Ministry seem to have considered that in the future it must be borne by the Governor-General himself. It has been given as a reason why the allowances of the Governor-General should be increased, that the Governor-General of Canada receives, in salary and allowances, a much larger amount than we pay. No doubt the position of the Governor-General of Canada is the most closely analogous to that of the Governor-General of Australia, though the population of Canada is much larger than that of Australia, and consequently an equal expenditure of this kind would be much less per head of population. I find, however, upon an examination of the figures, that if the expense of lighting were allowed to our GovernorGeneral, the difference between what he has to pay out of his own salary and what the Governor - General of Canada has to pay out of his salary would be only about £1,900. The salary of the GovernorGeneral of Canada is 48,535 dollars, or practically £10,000, and the Government pays 3,000 dollars to an aide-de-camp, 3,000 dollars to a military secretary, and 2,400 dollars to a private secretary. There are other clerks and orderlies, but the clerks evidently perform duties similar to those performed by the staff attached to our Executive Council, there being three male clerks and three female clerks, or else they are engaged in connexion with work which is not performed in the establishment of the Governor-General here. But whereas the aide-de-camp and military and private secretaries of the Governor-General of Canada are paid by the Government, our Governor-General has to provide £600 for a private secretary, £500 for a military secretary, and £300 for an aide-de-camp. Furthermore, he has to pay, according to the Prime Minister, about £500 for fuel, which, in Canada is provided by the Government, so that altogether his net salary is £1,900 less than that of the Governor-General of Canada. I have not made these comparisons in relation to what is past. I regret what has happened, but it is past and done with, and if the Governor-General’s Establishment Bil]* were again before the House I should have to vote as I did on the previous occasion. But I hope .that careful consideration will be given to the question of allowances in regard to the establishment of future Governors-General, so that all uncertainty in the matter may be removed. It will have to be recognised that the union of the States has created new conditions. While the Governor of a State may be able, if he is willing, to extend considerable hospitality towards the people of that State, it is impossible for the Governor-General of the Commonwealth to extend similar hospitality to the people of six States. If he entertains the people of only one or two States, the people of the other States will feel some jealousy.
– Especially as they have to provide their share of the expense.
– Yes, without obtaining any of the so-called benefits. If the Governor-General had to extend his hospitality to the people of all the State3, it would be beyond the power of any man of even large means to discharge the duties of the position, and if the Government were called upon to find the money, I think nearly £100,000 per annum would be required. We must face the situation as it has been faced in Canada. I have been told by Canadians that the Governors-General of Canada, with the exception of one or two who were able and desired to be lavish, confine themselves to official entertainments. Mr. Chamberlain, in his despatch of 11th January, writes -
From the point of view of public interest, I consider it important that you should limit your hospitality in capitals other than Sydney -
The Parliament of New South Wales, having passed an Act providing for an annual contribution of about £3,000 towards the expenses of the Governor-General’s residence at Sydney -
Strictly to such official entertainment as you may consider to be necessarily demanded.
I think that under our new conditions it must be recognised by future GovernorsGeneral that anything beyond official entertainments - or, perhaps, upon such national occasions as the recent Royal visit, something more lavish, which may afterwards be provided for by Parliament - cannot be undertaken. It must be remembered that each State has a Governor of its own, and its Parliament can pay to that Governor any amount it chooses for as extensive entertainment as is wished for. If the principle which I have laid down is recognised, the Commonwealth will not in the future be deprived of the services of able men. We have provided a salary of £10,000, and although we decline to give allowances to meet the expense of entertaining, I think that honorable members will take a sufficiently liberal view as to what should be contributed by the Government towards the upkeep of the Government Houses and the general expenses of the Governor-General’s establishment.
– As I am suffering from the Melbourne throat, which attacks most Queenslanders from time to time, I hope honorable members will excuse my inability to do justice to this subject, which has been so well debated. The great majority of the people of Queensland, of every shade of opinion, and in every position of, life, deeply deplore the circumstances which have brought about the retirement of the Governor-General. Judging from my correspondence, both by letter and telegram, the people of Queensland unanimously deplore the decision of the Governor-General to retire from his office, and also the circumstances which have brought it about. The caucus is one of the most valuable institutions in political life in all countries, and yet it has been entirely abandoned by the present Ministry. Not one caucus of Ministerial supporters has been held since Parliament met twelve months ago, and I was never more astonished in my life than when the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill was introduced. Was it to be expected that any honorable member could digest a matter of such vast importance without having some reasonable time in which to consider it ? When I had recovered to some extent from my surprise I spoke to the Prime Minister, and he gave me a reply that fairly staggered me, namely, that a private honorable member sitting on the Government beaches would probably make a suggestion that would please honorable members. No attempt was made to rally the Government forces in favour of the Bill, and no opportunities were afforded for a consultation with honorable members on the other side of the Chamber who might be disposed to favour some such proposal as that made by the Government. Personally, I was in favour of making a reasonable allowance and expected some such provision to be made, but I did not think we should be justified in providing an allowance of £8,000 per annum for a term of six or more years. In any case I should have restricted the allowance to the present Governor-General’s term of office. His Excellency now finds himself in the position of having to pay the whole of his staff out of his own salary. Section 3 of the Constitution Act provides -
There shall be payable to the Queen out of the consolidated revenue of the Commonwealth for the salary of the Governor-General an annual sum, which, until the Parliament otherwise provides, shall be £10,000.
Would not any gentleman - especially a nobleman like Lord Hopetoun, who has oc.cupied one of the highest offices in the Empire, and has enjoyed the special confidence of her late Majesty the Queen - interpret this provision as meaning that regard would be paid to Australian precedent in dealing with the Governor-General. The majority of the State Governors have always had the salaries of their staffs provided for in the ordinary estimates, and the GovernorGeneral was justified in supposing that he would be treated at least as well as any of the State Governors in this respect. When account is taken of the important duties and obligations of the Governor-General’s office, surely it would have been a fair thing to provide for the salaries of his staff apart from his own income. In Queensland, for many years, the Governor was entitled to import all supplies, such as wines and spirits, free of Customs duties.
– That is so in all the States. It is especially provided for in the Customs Bill.
– I am very glad to hear it. One point that has been lost sight of is that it is an important part of His Excellency’s duties to visit’ the various States when he has time. He should visit not only the capitals of the States, but also the outlying districts. I might mention that there were no bounds to the delight of the people of Queensland when the Governor-General paid a visit to Cairns, and spent some time there with much benefit to his health.
– He is not to be expected to entertain on such occasions.
– No, we do not wish him to do so. As the Governor-General is the representative of the Sovereign of the Empire, he should adopt the same practice that is followed when the Queen or King visit Ireland or Scotland. They are not expected to entertain, but the people entertain their Royal visitors on such occasions. We are trying to reverse this order of things, and Some of the references which have been made to the entertainment which is supposed to be provided by the Governor-General have disgusted me. The honorable member for Kennedy made an interjection, in which he asked, “ What about the unfortunate poor?” This shows that the honorable member has a very imperfect acquaintance with the ramifications of civilized life, and of the real effects of the distribution of money by the rich in connexion with their entertainments. One honorable member who is an expert in these matters has made an estimate of the distribution of money brought about by the issue of 5,000 invitations to a function at Government House. Supposing that the usual proportion of invitations were accepted, that would involve the purchase of 3,000 ladies’ dresses at £10 each, equal to £30,000, 3,000 ladies’ bonnets at £3 each, equal to £9,000, 3,000 parasols at £1 each, equal to £3,000. Then, say, 1,000 gentlemen would have to spend £10 each upon their clothing, adding another £10,000 to the total, which amounts to £52,000. My honorable friend who made this calculation is an expert no doubt, but my experience is that my wife could not go to an important function, such as I have in view, in a £10 dress. She has never done so, and never will so long as I can afford to give her a better one. This estimate is made up for a whole year, but it would not, under ordinary circumstances, cover more than four months in the year, because no ladies could be expected to attend half-a-dozen functions in the one £10 dress. ‘ We may, therefore, fairly multiply the £52,000 by three, and thus assume that over £150,000 is thus distributed in the course of the year. If the £8,000 per annum had been voted the other night it would have meant the circulation of money to at least 25 times that amount amongst the tradespeople and their employes in one part of Australia or another. When the acting leader of the Opposition was expressing the opinion that the resignation of the Governor-General came as a shock to the community of Australia, I heard a voice behind me say, “Laughter from the labour party.” But there is nothing to laugh at in the present circumstances, and I can confirm what fell from the lips of the acting leader of the Opposition. Further, I think it came as a shock to the Ministers themselves when they heard that the Governor-General had determined to withdraw from Australia.
– Hear, hear !
– I have known every one of the Ministers for many years in public and private, and I believe all felt deeply the deplorable incident and the circumstances which had brought it about.
– It is a pity the Government did not let us know that.
– I have spoken on that point previously. I support the Government, but I assume an independent position in respect to this matter, and interpret not only Queensland views, but what I regard as the views of the great majority of the people on this continent. I do not think our late beloved Queen would have thought of sending her grandson and his wife to Australia at the great juncture of our history, if Lord Hopetoun had not been here. Lord Hopetoun was one of the most patient, kindhearted, and intimate servants of the Queen, as was testified by his selection for his present position, and he had endeared himself to the people of Australia, more particularly to the people of Victoria. We t are making a storm in a tea-cup over this matter of £8,000 a year, the proposal to grant which there was never an opportunity to discuss on its merits.
– Whose fault was that ?
– I regret the circumstance that there was no opportunity. The news of the action of this House has gone over the cables to the ends of the earth, and in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and in all the European countries the people have heard that the Australian people, in a matter of a few thousand pounds, have, almost to the point of disloyalty, drawn the tar-brush over their escutcheon. Cobbett, that grand man who went to goal for advocating three-years Parliaments, said there were certain things in life which must be paid for ; and it is our duty to see that Lord Hopetoun is not put to private expense in carrying out the functions of his high office.
– Why did not the honorable member make this speech when the Establishment Bill was before us ?
– One reason was the unwarrantable precipitancy of the action of the Government, and I endeavour as far as possible to devote my limited talents to matters of which I have some knowledge. The Governor-General came here under the most splendid auspices in full favour with the Royal Family. He had had much experience in the performance of the most delicate duties that could fall to the lot of man in any great family in the world. He had had experience of Australian life, in Victoria principally, and was held in high esteem by every man and woman in the State. He came back with a high reputation, and no one can say that up to the present time he has not fulfilled his duties well. If he has “ shaken out his dollars “ and cast the sovereigns abroad, why has he done so 1 Primarily from a strong feeling of loyalty, and with a high conception of the duties and functions of his position. He was the first Governor-General of what we have been pleased to call a new nation, which is full of the wealth of the “ golden fleece,” and can boast of a shipping trade representing millions of tons per annum. These observations simply represent the idea which people in Canada, America, and elsewhere have of Australia ; and yet all this trouble has arisen in connexion with a sum of money which, under proper arrangements, might have represented not more than £5,000 per annum, or £30,000 for the whole term of office, including the £10,000 already granted for the expenses of the Royal visit. There is no doubt that every newspaper in the United Kingdom, to go no further, has published the fact of our scant supply of funds for the successful performance of the functions of the GovernorGeneral. If only the bare salary of £10,000 had to be paid to the Governor-General, why was that not set forth in the Constitution ? Lord Hopetoun has always been a man in every sense of the word, and so were all his predecessors. His uncle was one of the first pioneers in agriculture in Queensland. He promoted the employment of labour there; and, as the result of his experience in other tropical countries, he was able to educate the people of that State to utilize their land in the growth of pine-apples, bananas, sugar-cane, and other products. I wish to say, in conclusion, that nothing has happened in our history - and I have been here since a boy - which has so discouraged me as this political blot upon the escutcheon of my adopted country - the Commonwealth of Australia.
– I feel that honorable members are fairly tired of the discussion upon the loss of Lord Hopetoun. It appears to me that the GovernorGeneral has undoubtedly been misled by some one, but it is difficult to determine who is responsible. The arrangement of the duties of the Governor-General must have been carried out in the Colonial Office, and it is most likely that he was -misled there. I must say, however, that I think that the Government do not figure too well in regard to the question of allowances. As we have now to determine the conditions under which the new Governor-General will be expected to perform his duties, this discussion will be important as showing that honorable members are opposed to the view that the entertainment of those who call themselves “society people” is necessarily apart of the Governor-General’s duties. I am opposed to any increase being made in the salary of £10,000 per annum provided by the Constitution. It seems to me that the Colonial Office should have remembered its experience with Canada. At the end of their first session, on the 22nd May, 1868, the Canadian Parliament, having the right to deal with the Governor-General’s salary, which had been fixed at £10,000 until Parliament otherwise provided, resolved not to increase it, but to reduce it to £6,500. That was an expression of opinion by people who had federated under conditions similar to our own. We know that the Bill to provide for that reduction was vetoed, and what may be called a minimum wage for a Governor-General was fixed at £10,000 pel’ annum. I think that sum is sufficient for the Governor-General of the Commonwealth, and I am strongly opposed to the taxation of the people of this sun-baked continent - thousands of whom have to struggle to obtain a crust - in order to provide funds for the entertainment of a number of people at Government House. If we are going to spend £8,000 a year, or any other sum, on entertainments, let us provide free theatres, or some other form of genuine amusement for the people. That would be a very much better way of spending the money than in providing for functions which do not elevate the people. It has always struck me that the worst possible thing for an intelligent man to be called upon to ‘do is to stand up and allow his hand to be shaken, like a pump handle, by people who care nothing for him, but desire simply to gratify their vanity and say that they have shaken hands with the Governor-General. It creates bad feeling amongst neighbours, and does no good. I need hardly discuss principles of political economy with the honorable and learned member for Brisbane, who thinks that it is a good thing to spend money in any way. If no good is achieved by its expenditure it is altogether wasted and lost. The hoaorable and learned member may be considered a representative of capitalism to a greater extent than I am, and it is singular to find him advocating a waste of money in this direction. To put a number of people into costly dresses which, in some cases, other people have had to pay for, is not the kind of thing to advocate in any Parliament. I do not think that honorable members will vote a penny for entertainments at Government House. It will be the duty of the Government in bringing forward the proposals that they have promised, providing for legitimate allowances for the upkeep of quarters for the Governor-General, to see that the matter is dealt with in time, so that the .Colonial Office may know exactly what we desire. We should lay it down as a principle that the Governor-General is not bound to entertain any one, unless he desires to do so at his own expense. We might follow the precedent quoted by the honorable member for North Sydney. If we do that the next Governor-General will come here under no misapprehension”, and we shall not have a repetition of the resignation of the Governor-General under circumstances which do not appear to be very creditable to some one. I do not know that it matters very much, although we regret that the incident has occurred, and it is unfortunate that Lord Hopetoun should have been misled. I do not think that the honorable member for Parramatta need fear that the Government will ever introduce another Bill to raise the Governor-General’s salary. The feeling of the House is evidently very strong against any waste of public money. The people of the Commonwealth have quite enough to do at the present time in the matter of maintaining Governments. We do not desire to have any wasteful expenditure, and I think we have seen the last of any attempt in this direction.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).I do not wish at this late hour to take up the time of the committee at any great length, but I cannot allow the discussion to close without making some reference to the speech delivered by the honorable and learned member for Brisbane. He pointed out that the Government were to blame for having failed to take their supporters into their confidence. He said that we were called upon suddenly to come to a determination upon an important matter, and that because of that fact he was forced to vote for the Government. He did so although he admits that he did not understand the circumstances surrounding the Government proposal ; and yet he blames other honorable members who’ voted against it. I cannot understand the honorable and learned member’s inconsistency.
-paterson. - The Government should also have taken the Opposition into their confidence.
– I do not know anything .about that. In reply to my honorable and learned friend, I say that the Government knew that it was impossible to carry the Bill. They were assured by their own whip, as well as by myself, that it was impossible to do so. If honorable members had been allowed to vote upon the merits of the measure as introduced by the Government, without any further explanation than that offered by the Prime Minister, I do not think that half-a-dozen of those sitting behind the Ministry would have supported it.
– Just one.
– I was told that there would be one.
– The Government whip.
– I do not wish to particularize. I went through the list, and I put down the names of six members who would have supported the Government if the principle of the Bill had been adhered to. The Government, however, did not adhere to it. The objection which the Opposition entertained toward the measure was that it was contrary to the spirit and intention of the Constitution. Mr. Chamberlain, in the correspondence which has now been presented for the first time, really admitted that to be the case, because he said -
Under the terms of the Constitution as fixed l>3’ the Commonwealth Act a salary of £10,000 is to be paid to the Governor-General, and it is provided that the salary of a Governor-General shall not be altered during his continuance in office.
The Government, without taking the House into its confidence, sought to increase the Governor-General’s salary ; but honorable members were of opinion that it would be contrary to the- spirit of the Constitution to do so. I blame the Government for having failed to take honorable members into their confidence by laying all this correspondence before them. They have had it in their possession since the beginning of 1901, but they have put it before the House now for the first time. I regret that during this debate some reference has been made to Sydney as if the people of that city had asked Parliament to pay the cost of maintaining Government House there for the use of the Governor-General. What did the Parliament of New South Wales do in the matter, and why did they do it ? I shall ask the Treasurer why he proposed the Bill which was rejected by the Victorian Parliament 1 Sir William Lyne, as Premier of New South Wales, submitted a similar Bill for the consideration of the State Parliament. He did not make a lengthy explanation, because the Bill was submitted, I understand, after a long sitting. The Government should have taken Parliament into its confidence, and placed before us, not only Mr. Chamberlain’s despatches to the Governor-General, but also the correspondence between Mr. Chamberlain and the various State Governments.
– We have not seen it.
– The honorable member’s colleagues know something about it. The Treasurer, when Premier of Victoria, received a cablegram from Mr. Chamberlain, asking him to introduce into the Victorian Parliament a measure to provide a certain sum to supplement the GovernorGeneral’s salary. Mr. F. B. Suttor, who at the time, was a colleague of the Minister for Home Affairs in the New South Wales Governnent, when introducing a Bill to the same effect, which subsequently became law, said -
A good deal of correspondence has passed between the Colonial-office in England and this Government respecting the position of the GovernorGeneral as regards the colonies, and it has been pointed out that, although the Commonwealth Act provides that the salary of the GovernorGeneral shall be £10,000, if the Governments expect the Governor-General to move from one place to another and to visit the different colonies, a further sum will be necessary to meet the increased expenses to which the Governor-General would necessarily be put.
He said, further, that -
This Bill is brought in practically in pursuance of an agreement come to between the Home Government and the Government of this county.
The Bill was passed without division on the 4th December, 1900. Although honorable members opposite have tried to show the grasping nature of ‘New South Wales, that State recognised her responsibility in this matter, and actually passed an Act, which is the law to-day, appropriating over £3,000 per annum for the expense of the GovernorGeneral’s establishment in Sydney.
– Conditionally on the other States making up the balance.
– The New South Wales Act was passed unconditionally, and the Government of the day said that they were prepared to find the money whether the other State Governments subscribed or not, though Mr. Chamberlain was of opinion that £10,000 should be subscribed by all the States in proportion to population.
– At any rate, New South Wales has never paid the money ?
– I am assured by the Attorney-General that no request has been made to the Government of that State for it, and therefore no refusal can have been received from them. New South Wales has not asked for any consideration from this Parliament to which she is not entitled.
– The whole trouble is due to her interference in the matter.
Mir. SYDNEY SMITH. - Why should not the Governor-General reside in New South Wales?
– There is no reason why he should reside there more than in any of the other States. 37 a«
– The seat of Government is in New South. Wales.
– No, it is in Melbourne.
– The Constitution says that the seat of Government shall be in New South Wales, but that until the capital site is agreed upon Parliament shall meet in Melbourne.
– The common-sense interpretation of that provision is that the seat of Government shall be where the Parliament sits.
– I do not accept my honorable friend’s interpretation. I voted against the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill, because I considered its principles opposed to .the Constitution.
– And contrary to the letter of the Constitution as well.
– My chief complaint against the Government is that, although the honorable member for South Australia, Sir Langdon Bonython, asked a question upon this subject upon two or three occasions, they refused to give him any information. They wanted to make out that no communications had taken place between them and the Home authorities, and yet for eighteen months they had been in possession of Mr. Chamberlain’s despatches, and knew of the correspondence which had taken place between the State Governments and the Home Secretary. The Prime Minister, in introducing the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill, made no reference either to this correspondence or to his understanding with the Governor-General. He moved the second reading in a half-hearted way, and when the Government saw that the House was against them, they allowed a private member, sitting behind them, to take out the vital principles of the Bill and submit something quite different, a thing which I never saw done before during my political life. The Bill originally provided for an annual grant of £8,000, but when it left committee it provided only for a grant of £10,000 to defray the Governor-General’s expenses in entertaining the Royal visitors, which honorable members unanimously felt should not come out of his own pocket. Every one regrets that the Governor-General has thought it necessary, in view of the determination of Parliament, to resign his position, but if I were called upon to deal with this matter to-morrow, I should be compelled to take a similar course to that followed on the former occasion. The Government submitted the Governor - General’s Establishment Bill to the House in such a way as to infringe the Constitution, and to. place it beyond our power to assist the Governor-General. During the federal election campaign the Prime Minister specially warned the people against returning representatives who had voted against the Commonwealth Bill, because he said that they would probably take the first opportunity of altering the Constitution. Now the Prime Minister is the first man to attempt to alter the Constitution, not in the interests of the struggling masses in the Commonwealth, but in order to provide for .a large additional salary for the Governor-General. The Attorney-General has stated that His Excellency the Governor-General did not resign on account of any difference with ‘his advisers; but if the relations existing between the ‘Governor - General and the Ministry were as cordial as they should have been, why did he keep them in ignorance of his intention to resign. As one who has been a Minister for many years, I am well acquainted with the relations which exist between the Governors of States and their Ministers, and I know that there is nothing to prevent the Governors from conferring in the most friendly and cordial way with their advisers. We know from the Attorney-General.that, as a matter of fact, His Excellency has conferred with his Ministers on several occasions since his resignation. And we may assume that if the relations between the Governor-General and his Ministers had been thoroughly cordial he would have taken an opportunity of placing them in possession of the whole of the facts of the case ‘before finally tendering his -resignation. The Ministry ^should have placed before us the whole of the correspondence between the State Governments and Mr. ‘Chamberlain as well as that which took place between the Prime Minister .and Mr. Chamberlain. The way in which the whole matter has been bungled by the Government has entailed an amount Of unpleasantness which must be regretted bv every honorable member.
– If , the Government are -to -be condemned, it is because they did not put the whole case fairly before the Secretary of State for the Colonies The moment,the Government received that despatch from Mi’. Chamberlain they should have notified him and the Governor-General that they would introduce no such Bill as was indicated. The Governor-General should have been informed that his total income would be represented by his salary, and that he would not be expected to maintain hisestablishment on the same scale of extraordinary extravagance as that which he had seen in India prior to his coming here. It is a mistake to institute comparisons between the condition of .affairs in India and those which prevail in this country. While the people of this country are a plain and simple majestic democracy, resting upon their strength and intelligence, the people of India ave still in a state-of semi-savagery, and have to be kept in awe by means of a lot of glitter and show. The GovernorGeneral in Canada does not entertain in the way our Governors do. I bold that when the whole of the people of the Commonwealth are asked to contribute their quota towards the maintenance of Government House, .any entertainments given there should be arranged on the broad basis of democratic justice, and the whole of the people should be invited there to drink wine, and dine, and enjoy themselves. If the whole of the people are not invited to the entertainments at Government House, those who pay the taxes, should demand that their money should be spent only in entertaining the accredited representatives . cif the foreign nations in this country. If the Governor-General desires to show hospitality to any one else, lie must do so as a private gentleman, just as the President of the United States does. No one will for a moment contend that the President of the -United States is inferior in intelligence or in any other respect to the Governor-General df Australia, and yet he is allowed only £4;000 per annum for ‘entertaining the foreign ambassadors, and £10,000 as salary. If there is aLl’y great -extravagance in connexion with the establishment -of Government House the people will rise up and drive all those responsible for it into the sea. I do not blame the Secretary of State for the Colonies for his despatches. Hitherto the various States have asked for Governors with titles and with money, and not for men of character. They have apparently wanted ‘Governors to spend money, and to teach the young people growing up in Australia to be thorough snobs and cads. I hold that -the Secretary of State for the Colonies is not to be blamed, but that the tone of his despatches is due to the attitude hitherto assumed by the people of the Commonwealth. It appears that there are no Englishmen available who are sufficiently rich to enable them to accept the position of Governor-General, but I would point out that an American, Mr. Waldorf Astor, who is now in England, has an income of £1,000,000ayear, and that he would probably accept the position of Governor-General. If he comes here he will spend so much money that he will be able to place a barrel of whisky and a basket of champagne at the foot of every gooseberry bush in the Government House gardens. Wives are told that if they wish to please their husbands they must feed the beasts, and apparently ifany one wishes to retain the loyalty of the Australian people he must feed them. The people must be fed and fattened, and sent home in their carriages at night with tickets on them, so that their wives may know them and take them in. If the Secretary of State for the Colonies did not look upon our people in this light, why should he refer in his despatches to the question of entertaining the people of the Commonwealth ? I am sorryto say that there is no real democracy in Australia. As soon as people make a few pounds, they crawl and twist like caterpillars to get into the society of those who have driven the Governor-General into such extraordinary extravagance. I hold that the present is one of the most extraordinary aristocratic strikes that will ever take place in the history of the Commonwealth. There is evidently a governors’ union in England, which has ordered a strike, and the GovernorGeneral’s resignation is one of the consequences. When I was in New South Wales recently I saw that the squatters and farmers had to import fodder to save their starving stock, and we want no extravagance in connexion with the maintenance of Government House whilst our people are in such sore straits. Yet it is advocated that there should be more extravagance at Government House. Such a policy will hasten the day when the people will ask themselves whether they are not paying too much for their “ golden whistle” - for this pomp and ceremony of the middle centuries. My trip through New South Wales has satisfied me of the necessity of having fodder free of duty, and I can see quite clearly that there will be hundreds of men and women out of work if this terrible drought continues. Instead of debating the question of providing entertainment for guests at Government House, we ought to be discussing ways and means of assisting these poor people. If we placed Astor in the position of Governor-General we should, after five years of wilful waste and prodigality, be so satiated that we would return to Spartan simplicity. Thomas J efferson, whose name will be remembered when every man here is dead and forgotten, rode to White House on his old horse, and hitched it up outside while he was being inaugurated as President. Washington practised simplicity, and although he died worth only 80,000 dollars, he did not draw his pay as President for eight years, and that money still lies in the Treasury of the United States. The salary of the President of the United States was only £5,000 a year until 1870, when Grant raised it to £10,000. I object to members and newspapers preaching economy as advocated on the Kyabram platform, and at the same time saying not a word about extravagance in an institution which ought to set an example. The honorable and learned member for Brisbane spoke as though the spending of money was all that was desired; but the possession of wealth entails great responsibility to the community, from which itmust be obtained. Wealth is only a power to command labour, and if a man possessed all the gold on the earth, and could not employ others, he might as well possess so many pebbles. I confess that New South Wales is greatly to blame for our present position. There is too much State interference, and the time has come when the Commonwealth must tell each State that it is only onesixth of the Commonwealth. The States are a subordinate power, and the Commonwealth the supreme power, and State rights end where Commonwealth rights begin. So long as I have the honour to be in this House I shall oppose all extravagance, whether in the keeping up of Government House or in other directions. The President of the great MexicanRepublic, with 13,000,000 of people, lives in a private house and entertains his friends like any private gentleman. In Australia, however, the only experience we have had has been that of borrowing money and wilful extravagance. We ought now to start to pay off our debts, and we may depend thatso far from being condemned in England for our action in regard to the allowances of the Governor-General, we shall be applauded as showing a disposition to economize. I do not say for one moment that His Excellency intended to overawe the people with extravagance, but he came out with an exalted idea of our desire for entertainment. In conclusion, let me say, once and for all, that the party to which I have the honour to belong will, whether they sink or swim, oppose all extravagance.
– The debate has turned mainly on the one question why the Governor-General has seen fit to tender his resignation. I am in accord with those who are desirous of getting some further explanation as to the reasons which have actuated His Excellency. So far as information has been vouchsafed, I have a strong feeling that neither the Governor-General nor this House has been properly treated by the Government. It has been disclosed that an understanding that an increase of the nature proposed should be made was arrived at before the Federal Government was formed. That was the outcome of the meetings of ; the Premiers who represented the several colonies which were about to enter the federal compact. New South Wales subsequently passed a temporary measure providing for her share of the expenditure. A similar Bill was introduced into the Victorian Legislature, but failed to pass, while no move was made in the other States. It will be seen from the despatches that the matter was brought under the notice of the Federal Government practically at the outset of their career, and it is here, I think, that both the Governor-General and the House have a grievance. The Government, although the matter was placed before them at such an early date, allowed expenditure to continue on the understanding that certain legislation would be introduced, and to that extent they are responsible. More than twelve months afterwards the Government introduced the Bill authorizing increased expenditure, but even at that stage they failed to place the House in possession of necessary information. If it were not right that the House should have the information at that stage, it is not right that the House should have the information now. Attempts have been made to gloze over the apparent failure of the Government to do justice to the
Governor-General, to the State, and the Parliament. When the Bill was introduced it became apparent from the objections taken by members who sit behind the Government, that it was not going to meet the reception which had been anticipated, and then a supporter did what I think was contrary to constitutional methods. The message from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral covered a Bill of a particular character; but at the instance of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne the measure was converted into one of a quite different character. What I object to is the honorable and learned member appearing now as an apologist, with a wish to divert the attention of the House from the position which has to be met, to another which he creates by alleging that the Secretary of State for the Colonies has attempted to dictate to the Commonwealth and the House in this matter. He bases that contention upon the last clause of one of the despatches, and particularly upon the use of the word “hope.” Before I leave that matter I wish to say that I should protest as strongly as would any honorable member against anything approaching dictation on the part of the Colonial-office in regard to the Commonwealth Parliament, but I fail to see anything savouring of dictation in these despatches. If the Government thought that terms were dictated which they ought not to accept, they should have told the House. But I have not been able to find anything of the kind. In these despatches Mr. Chamberlain was placing before the responsible advisers of the Crown the position which had apparently been agreed upon some time prior to the inauguration of federation by some of the responsible Ministers of the States. What did the Prime Minister say, so far back as February, 1901, when acknowledging receipt of this despatch ? His words are worthy of record, as showing the position which the Government then took up -
Mr. Barton presents his humble duty to Your Excellency, and requests to be allowed to acknowledge the receipt through Your Excellency of copy of a despatch, dated 11th January last, from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, on the subject of making suitable provision for the expenses of Your Excellency’s establishment and for the charges of entertainment.
Mr. Barton begs to intimate that the Ministers for the Commonwealth have agreed to submit a measure to the Parliament which, in his view, will meet the situation to which Mr. Secretary Chamberlain’s despatch refers.
It was only after the House had refused to accept the Governor-General’s ‘ Establishment Bill, as introduced by the ‘Government, and the Governor-General, for some weighty reason which has not been made clear, hod felt it incumbent upon him to resign his high position, that these important despatches, and the undertaking made therein by the Government, were placed in the hands nf Parliament. The increase of salary is another matter. I am in sympathy with those who believe that it is desirable to keep down any undue expenditure at the present time, and that it is no part of the duty of the Commonwealth to provide for expensive entertainments at Government House, which are availed of by only a very few people. I have here a list of the salaries that are paid to persons filling high positions, quite as important and as expensive as that of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth. The President of the United States of America, who is invested with very much greater power, and who is practically the ruler of a very much greater number of people, receives the same salary as that provided for the Governor-General - £10,000 a year. The Prime Minister of Great Britain receives only £2,000 per annum ; the Governor-General of Canada, £10,000; the High Commissioner of South Africa, £8,000 ; the Envoy to Egypt, £6,000 ; the Ambassador to France, £9,000; the Ambassador to Germany, £8,000 ; the Ambassador to Russia, £7,800 ; the Ambassador to Austria, £8,000 ; the Minister to China, £5,000 ; the Governor of Madras, £7,500 ; and the Governor of Bombay, £7,500. I do not wish to debate this matter at any length, but simply to express my regret that the Government did not see their way to take the House into their confidence at an earlier stage. It would have been only just to the House and to the Governor-General to have done so. I regret that when the Government, did see fit to fulfil their pledge to the GovernorGeneral, and through him to the Home authorities, they adopted the course pursued by them, and withheld certain vital information relating to the question. Another matter which I wish to bring under the notice of the Government is the dire effects of the drought, not only in New South “Wales, but practically throughout the Commonwealth. In the newspapers we find reports from every centre of great losses that are imminent, owing to the continuance of the drought, and of the efforts which are being made by stockowners, farmers, and squatters to keep their stock alive until the drought breaks up, when they will be able to obtain natural fodder. Practically, the supplies of fodder throughout the States have been exhausted. I have here a communication published in one of the Sydney newspapers from a gentleman who deals largely in forage. He points out that fodder is practically unpurchaseable in South Australia, owing to the large demands from Victoria, and that the shortage represents something like 200,000 tons of stuff for pressing requirements in the drought districts, and ordinary requirements in the State. Notwithstanding that, the Government have placed duties upon imported fodder. “When they were imposed it was thought that we had sufficient for all requirements ; and that the duties would be inoperative, but the continuance of the drought has produced an abnormal condition, with the result that what in ordinary seasons would have been an ample supply has been consumed. Our last resort is to import fodder from New Zealand, South America, and other places. I am informed that orders from Sydney have been placed in South America, and it must be remembered that in addition to the actual purchase money stock-owners will have to pay the duties on fodder. The Federal Government can assist these men by temporarily removing the duties. I see to-day that a judgment has been given, the purport of which is that under their present laws the Federal Government cannot legally impose duties upon goods that, prior to the introduction of the Tariff, were admitted free. If that decision becomes operative it will remove the duties on fodder sp far as New South Wales is concerned, but I understand that the Government propose to prevent the operation of the decision by some further action. On the ground of humanity, and upon the further ground that we ought to maintain the interests of stock-owners in the several States, I suggest that the Government should exercise a certain amount of leniency in this respect, and enable stock-owners to obtain fodder free of duty. On one holding in my electorate - and the western portion of it 13 suffering very severely- a firm is spending, £2,000-per week in feeding its stock. Practically all the stock in the western districts of New South Wales is being fed on fodder introduced from outside. A limitation has now been placed upon supplies, and I trust that the Government will consult with the State Governments, and arrive at some means of averting, to some extent, the great loss that threatens our grazing and farming community.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).-I think that the matter just brought under the notice of theGovernment by the honorable member for Canobolas is a very important one.
– The honorable member will have an opportunity of dealing with it to-morrow. The Minister for Trade and Customs is away.
– I do not desire to lose our right to discuss this matter generally. At the present time in various districts great distress has been caused by the drought. During the inspection of the capital sites by members of the House of Representatives, we were afforded an opportunity of seeing the state of the country.
– Honorable members saw only the districts least affected by the drought.
– That is so.
– My honorable friend will have an opportunity to discuss this matter to-morrow.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Sir George Turner) proposed -
That the standing orders be suspended in order to enable all steps to betaken to obtain supply, and to pass a Supply Bill throughall its stages without delay.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie). - I wish to point out to the Treasurer that the matter to which incidental reference has been recently made, is of such vital importance to the community that it is necessary to ventilate it at once.
– I think that the Government might very well postpone the further consideration of the Bill until to-morrow, so that honorable members may have an opportunity to discuss the matter to which the honorable member for Macquarie wishes to allude. Will not Friday be early enough for the Supply Bill?
– No, it must be passed to-night, so that we may make our payments before the end of the month.
– As to-morrow is grievance Thursday, honorable members will then be able to discuss the matter to which the honorable gentleman refers.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution of Committee of Supply adopted.
In Committee of Ways and Means. -
Motion (by Sir George Turner) proposed -
That towards making good the supply granted to His Majesty for the services of the year ending 30th June, 1902, the sum of £493,043 bo granted out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
– I wish to know if this amount covers the salary of any officer who has been appointed to the public service from outside, or promoted from the rank of temporary employé to that of permanent employé since the last Supply Bill was introduced ?
– I do notthink so. On the last occasion when a Supply Bill was before the House the Minister for Home Affairs stated that another officer besides the gentleman to whose appointment I then called attention had been, or was about to be, appointed, and, seeing the way in which the House dealt with the matter then, I have not followed it up any further.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported, and adopted.
Bill presented and passed through all its stages without amendment.
House adjourned at 11.28 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 May 1902, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1902/19020528_reps_1_10/>.